Preacher: Josh WhiteBut as I I start to think about this trip to Michigan I start to think about all the different things that I'm hoping for I'm hoping for with this trip that it will be we'll have safe travels. This is a long trip this is about thirty hours in the car it is a really long drive and we've made this before but it really gets kind of tedious after a while our vehicles in pretty good shape and I think it's about thirteen or fourteen years old our Toyota Sequoia but hopefully we won't have any problems it will be who get there in these two full days of driving another thing that I hope for is that my son Caleb won't get car sick. Caleb has a history of getting car sick in fact one time a few years ago the record is he threw up twenty seven times in one trip obviously the most the majority of those were dry heaves but from I remember from from Montana all the way to South Dakota every few minutes we hear him in the back kid we pull over but anyway we found the pill that works it's meant cuisine cuisine is the one that works for cable so thank you Stan I think Stan was one of the kind of turned us onto that another thing that I hope for is that we'll be able to see everybody that we want to see back in Michigan Christen has about five hundred relatives and so we're going to try to see most of them and then I have family and friends hopefully will see most of them I'm really this year more than most I'm really looking forward to seeing my older sister Amy She's the one that I told you about last week so last Saturday she had her colon removed she's still in the hospital hopefully she'll be released today but my sister she's hilarious she's not really good about texting but this week she's obviously very bored so she's been texting me and I can tell her she's on a lot of pain meds and she's texting me pictures of her scars and I'm like I don't want to see this is you know the scars on her stomach and so I'll see that she sent me a picture I'm like I'm not going to look at this but then she said I can't wait for you guys to come she's a really good cook and she says I can't wait for you to come. Going to do my ribs in my popcorn cake and I'm thinking it will be Have you ever had popcorn cake my kids have and they know how wonderful it is it's kind like a rice krispie treat except for us popcorn and then the melted marshmallows and then you put peanuts in there M. and M. spicy gum drops it's really good I mean it's really really bad but it's really really good and I'm thinking to my sister she just had her colon removed and now she wants to do this big feast of ribs and popcorn so I don't know if that's going to happen I'm definitely not going to get my hopes up for that but another thing that I hope for is just that will be able to just relax on vacation although sometimes these vacations trying to see everyone they can be very stressful and then at the very end of the trip we'll be looking forward to coming back and we'll hope that we'll have a safe trip back and then we'll take all the kids and we'll kick them out and they'll go to camp for a week so that would be really nice We're looking forward to that but you know we've made this trip several several times over the years so I know some of the things to look forward to some of the things to hope for some of the things to not look forward to and not to hope for but I definitely have in my life greater hopes than this two week trip to Michigan that we're going to take I have hopes for our church when I daydream about this church I get so excited I think we're in a very exciting time in our church's history and one thing that is so exciting is when we see people come in and we open the Bible and we allow a little word of God to transform the way that we think about how we should interpret everything going on around us and when people say you know what I'm Christ is my savior he is my lord I should live in obedience to Him I have hopes that the people in our church will continue to grow in maturity I also have great hopes for all of these little kids that are in our church that they'll have such a positive experience with church that they will grow up and someday they will choose to love and serve the Lord wherever they wherever the Lord may take them I also have hopes for my own kids that are obviously very similar I hope that they will. Grow up and love and serve the Lord and I also hope that they will grow up and become contributing members to society adult find their niche and will get out there in the WORK HARD IN THE be a positive productive member of society and then also hope that if they get married someday that their spouse is someone who will love the Lord and that they will have a good match you know I have all these hopes in my life and if you're here today and you're a human being you you have hopes as well we're always hoping in something but I will say that my greatest hope the number one hope that I have in my entire life.Is I hope that this is true.Because if this is true then the best part of our existence is yet to come. So that is what we're going to be talking about today we are in a short series on hold and so far what we've done is we've talked about the importance of hope the Bible tells us to think about the things that God has promised us the things that he has called us to because we're thinking about our hope then it helps us to become mature we looked at Passages to talk about that it also helps us to become productive in our life and last week what we did is we looked at the hope the hope that we have that the Bible cautions us about and the Bible cautions us about putting our hope in people and money and we're always going to put our hopes small hopes in people and money and what we usually do is we're hoping that a person or our wealth is going to be able to bring into our life something that is going to satisfy us but the Bible says it's not going to happen nothing can fully satisfy us and then so the bible warns us of against doing those things today what we're going to do is talk about the things that we can be confident about we can hope for specific things and be confident that our hope will not disappoint us and so. Thinking about what we can be confident about what are the guarantees that we have in this life then wasn't it Benjamin Franklin said the tooth the two things that are guaranteed are death and taxes I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said that well you know by God's grace there's other things in this life that we really do hope for and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don't and we can really have a wonderful blessed life but God shares with us a handful of things that we can be confident about and I think it's important for us to know that these are the objects of our hope so today we're going to talk about three things that we can be confident about when we talk about our hope and we'll begin with the first one first one is this we can confidently place our hope in the fact that God has a plan.We can be confident that God has a plan and everything that is happening in the world right now is going exactly according to God's plan and you might say wait a second there's a lot of suffering and there's a lot of sorrow God allows those things to happen I think partly so that we know that we need God But when it comes to God's full redemptive plan for mankind from from Genesis to Revelation God has a plan and ultimately what we're saying is God didn't just create us because he was bored one day and then say I'm just going to create humans and and we'll see what happens and he just kind of lets us go that's not at all what God has done God has a very specific plan and what he wants to accomplish and the purpose is been unfolding what I want you to do I want to look at a couple passages the first one is in Jeremiah twenty nine. Going to the Old Testament Jeremiah twenty nine and will look at verse eleven.Verses ten eleven.Jeremiah twenty nine verses ten and eleven.This is one passage that really shows us and reveals to us that God does have a plan. And this one is dealing with the nation of Israel. And the kind of give you some context of Jeremiah this was written when Daniel and Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were still in exile in the country of Babylon and so this is what God says to them Jeremiah twenty nine ten eleven.For thus says the Lord when seventy years are completed for Babylon I will do is it you and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place in verse eleven is a very popular verse for I know the playing ends I have for you declares the LORD plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you you will seek Me and find me and you will seek me with all your heart I will be found by you declares the LORD and I will restate or your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you declares the LORD and I will bring you back to the places from which I sent you into exile and so here is a plan that God had for the nation of Israel and this is a promise that I will bring you back and guess what God did he fulfilled this plan exactly what he said he was going to do he did it he brought them back just like he brought them up out of Egypt out of slavery and God has more plans for the nation of Israel and we should fully expect those to come true as well now there is kind of a word of caution and whenever I bring up Jeremiah twenty nine eleven I feel like I'm going to pop someone's bubble because Jeremiah twenty nine eleven has as one of. Its kind of proof text a lot of people take this verse will say this is God's verse for me and God says that I have a plan for me and and it's a plan for prosperity and here's the problem with anyone who takes this verse and applies it directly to themselves This verse is not specifically for any of us today I think we need to realize that obviously. God's intention for us we see some some some things that correlate but this is specifically. For those that are an exile in the country of Babylon many many years ago look at verse one of Jeremiah twenty nine.So this is who can claim this promise of verse one of Jeremiah twenty nine these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles and to the priests the prophets and all the people who never can as are taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon and so this plan and this promise that we see here in Jeremiah twenty nine is to sift Occleve for the nation of Israel that he will make them prosperous that he will bring them back and the problem we have is when someone today reads Jeremiah twenty nine eleven and who wouldn't want to claim the Says their own right if you claim this for your own and you say God's plan is to prosper me that prosper me then what happens if you're not wealthy and prosperous then you have to say wait a second is God's plan is God not powerful enough to bring his plan to pass and so we have to be very careful when looking at the plans that God has but this is something very specific for the nation of Israel and he fulfilled that plan. Now even though that specific verse isn't for us so there are other verses that are very similar that we can claim for ourselves I want just want to turn over to Seasons chapter one. We can't claim Jeremiah twenty nine eleven but we can claim one eleven and obviously there are very similar. The good things are going to happen might not happen in this lifetime but they will happen if one verse eleven.Verses eleven and twelve and so this is something that we can claim as our own dealing with the plan of God If he says one verses eleven and twelve it says.In him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the. Plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will in order that we who were the first to put our hope in Christ might be for the praise of his glory and so this verse says something very similar God is working out everything in conformity to His Will this includes the promises that he made to Israel also to the Israel I Israelites that were in exile in Babylon and this also includes US people today who have put our hope and Jesus Christ and so if your hope is in Christ what he teaches one eleven is telling us is that you are a part of God's plan and ultimately that plan is for you to spend eternity with him and ultimately to bring God glory and so moving on from this hope to god has a plan let's look at a couple things that this plan includes All right so the second point is this.We can confidently place our hope in the fact that no point number two that we will live for ever this is our hope that we will be able to live for ever God's plan is not for us to be born into this world to live for a few years to try to make friends try to earn money and then die that's not God's plan for us every single human being is eternal and those who placed their face in him will live forever with Christ so you look at a couple of the passages Let's go over to First Corinthians Chapter fifteen.First Corinthians Chapter fifteen beginning beginning in verse eighteen.First Corinthians fifteen beginning in verse eighteen.Says then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ of perish. If in Christ we have hope in this life only we are of all people most to be pitied but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep so our hope as we see in this passage in others goes beyond this life Christ's death and resurrection does make an impact on this life it does make an impact if you're here today and you place your faith in Jesus Christ hopefully you can see that the teachings of the Word of God It does make a difference in your life if you put the principles of the Bible into place it can it can make your relationships better. It can make your relationship with other human beings better it can lead to being useful in the in the world and society it can lead to meaningful service all those things are very true but if our hope in Christ is in this life alone if that's all there is then in Paul's words then we are the most to be pitied they think Christ leads us to the hope of eternal life with him let's go over to Titus chapter one.Turn over your Bible to Titus chapter one.Another passage that talks about this being our hope.Titus chapter one beginning in verse one.Titus one one Paul says Paul a servant of God an apostle of Jesus Christ for the sake of the face of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with Godliness and here it is verse two in hope of each one a life which God who never lies promised before the ages began so our hope is ultimately in our longing to live forever now I think we need to pause here just for a second because if we're honest how many of you you talk about this hope of a. Think forever how many of you would would admit like I am like I well I actually don't know my next point is but what I'll say is this hope is only good because of the next point and we'll get to the next point in just just a minute but how many of you would like the hope of living forever in this world just as it is I don't see any of you nodding your head all of your like I don't think so I don't think I want to live forever you know it would get sick of many things and eventually just be completely depressing in despair like for instance how many of you have a favorite food and what would it be like to eat that favorite food every single day for the rest of your life I right now my favorite food might be some kind of a Mexican dish or or sushi I like sushi I have been liking sushi lately but if I were to eat it Mexican food for maybe two months maybe I'd get sick of it after two months I really like Mexican food or how about going on vacation we all look forward to going on vacation but what do you do at the very end of a vacation and I'm done all right I'm ready to get back I want to get back to my routine I want to get things to be productive there are things that we can really enjoy in this life but we wouldn't want them exclusively in indefinitely. I enjoy my life I really do I have nothing to complain about God I feel has blessed me in so many different ways but just like you I have realized that there is nothing in this life that is truly and completely going to satisfy me. And there is nothing in this world that I can look at and say it is perfect this perfect as it can be and I wouldn't change a single thing this world is broken and it needs to be fixed and to constantly hope for perfection in justice and to never be able to see that would just be cruel but there is another hope that God gives us and it makes the sound of the thought of eternal life sound so appealing and so let's get to the third thing the third hope. The third hope is this we can confidently place our hope in the fact that God will pick. It's everything that is broken.God is going to fix everything in this world that is broken and the two words that the Bible uses to describe this truth are the words redemption and restoration redemption means to buy something back and the Bible teaches us that when sin into the world we were sold as slaves to sin and redemption is God's work and our lives were his buying us back out of that slavery to say and restoration is to return something to its original condition I want to go to to one last really good passage and this is Romans chapter eight.So might be the best passage in the Bible on the subject as it goes into a little bit more detail about what we can hope for.Woman's Chapter eight beginning in verse eighteen.Romans chapter eight beginning in verse eighteen this was really revealing to us the end of God's plan. Romans eight eighteen says. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us for the creation waits with eager longing for this the revealing of the sons of God for the creation was subjected to futility not willingly but because of him who subjected it in whole that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God And so this is revealing to us that God's plan includes creation it includes this world now imagine what the world must have been like when God created Adam and Eve and no sin ever entered the world I mean has it it's even hard for us to imagine how wonderful things would have been and when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because they were. Sin into the world do you think they misfit. And kind of a ridiculous question right of course they miss it and so they're the only human beings that knew what it was like to live on a perfect earth without sin without death without corruption and then to live in a world that is completely polluted with sin and so just imagine the hope that they had that we could understand what God's original creation was like but this is part of God's plan this what Paul is teaching us here sin entered the world and a part of God's plan is to redeem the world and mankind and so redemption means to buy it back and the fact is the God is powerful enough to fix what has been broken and that includes you and me and that also includes all of creation was picked up again in verse twenty two. First twenty two it continues and says So we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now and not only the creation but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for for adoption his sons the redemption of our bodies for in this hope we were saved now hope that is seen as not hope for who hopes for what he sees but if we hope for what we do not see we wait for it patiently and so what we see in verse in chapter eight of Romans what is broken is everything creation is broken we are broken you know when God said in the book of Genesis that he saw everything that he had made and he said it was it was good I think I've mentioned this before I remember taking Hebrew with Dr who is back in a great Bible College many years ago and in our Hebrew class the word for good it is good is Quito which also has this idea of it works he saw all that he had made. And said it works now as you look at the world around us can you say it's it's working but is it working like it was supposed to it's kind of like you could ride a bicycle with a flat tire and you can kind of make some forward progress but you're not going to be riding it like it was intended to the world is not functioning like it was supposed to human relationships are strained on a small and large scale Have you ever had a relationship that was broken and you have no contact with that person again those are hard to see and on a large scale nations and countries are always constantly battling against each other I hate to say this but we shouldn't hope for world peace because it's not going to happen that shouldn't be our hope and our human bodies they're not functioning like they should they break down they're susceptible to disease they don't function like they were intended to you know weeks like this in Phoenix are proof that something's broken like the the temperature gauge on the oven is broken and what we need to get a fix but this passage in Romans two says two things that our bodies our physical bodies will be redeemed meaning they will be like Christ's resurrected glorified body and most likely they will be like Adam and Eve's body before sin entered the world so God is going to redeem and restore us to our own original condition and the world itself will be redeemed in restored to the perfect condition it was in before sin lesson everything in this world is broken everything is right now but it will be fixed that's a god plan and that's the hope that God gives to us and I think the longer a person lives in this broken world I think our hope in this grows stronger and stronger. So why can we be so confident in these things that the Bible gives us you know when we hope for something the longer you live the more you think OK I'm going to her. For this very cautiously because I don't want to get disappointed or why is it that we can hope for these things that God says shares with us and not worry about our hopes being crushed all this is a little bit different we do believe in these things by face but this faith has a very strong foundation that we can rest on and one very good reason why we can fully place our hope in these things is because all the other promises that God made that have been fulfilled have been fulfilled exactly like God said they would be God promised to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land did he do it yeah and when they went into exile he promised to bring them back to do it he absolutely did and God said that he would bring your reading into the world to save us and to be the sacrifice for our sins did he do it absolutely he did and he promised that he would send the Holy Spirit and he would enjoy Well believers and give them an insight into God Did God give us the Holy Spirit he did and so when he's telling us that he's going to be doing these things the Bible is showing us this history of redemption and so we can we can take great comfort in knowing that these things that we hope in are going to happen. So how should this change the way we live having this great hope should do something for us we're going to talk about that a little bit next week that is kind of our final sermon on hope we're going to talk about the produce of hope if we have this hope how should it change our lives but one way that it should change our lives it should give us a different perspective we should have a different perspective on human history than anyone else I want to read one of the last verse out of Romans eighteen again Romans eight eighteen again I just want to read this one verse and it says this.This is the perspective that Paul has that we should have as well omens eighteen says for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory. That is to be revealed to us with a creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.What are you suffering right now.There are sufferings of this time every single person in this room is suffering in some way some way you might be suffering physically and we know that's true.Some of you have ailments than in diseases and we are aware of those things and we can hope and pray that they might be restored in this lifetime they might they might not some of you might be suffering relationally some of the most important relationships in your life are breaking down right before your very eyes and it's very difficult for you to see some you might be suffering financially you keep trying to make ends meet and you're not able to do that so it's very clear that we live in a broken simply looted world but someday we will be able to compare our future realized hope to what a sin infected world was like and that is going to lead us to glorify God That's what this hope is that God has given to us.However.The only way you can have this hope is if you place your faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that's the only way you can have this hope if you're here today and if you not place your faith in Christ guess paying for your sins and that his resurrection from the dead gives you the hope of eternal life then you are without hope and if you don't have that hope Why would you go another minute without claiming this as your own. So what I want to do is give you the opportunity to claim this hope for yourself to say that yes God I want to be part of the plan that you have for me I want to live forever with you I want to be restored just like your word says and so all place my faith in your Son Jesus Christ and if you've never done that I invite you to do that right now I'd like everyone to to bow their heads the closer eyes and invite anyone here today who has never prayed that prayer and never taken hold of this hope that we have. Through our faith in Jesus Christ to simply pray this prayer to God and He will hear you just say in your heart. Your father I believe that you sent your son Jesus to die for my sins.And I believe you raised him back from the dead so that we can have eternal life.Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ alone for myself nation.If you prayed that prayer right now for the first time today or if you've ever prayed that prayer you are a child of hope we have this hope let's praise God for this hope dear Lord we thank you so much for giving us hope when we get our eyes off you and we stop turning to your word for this kind of a perspective life can get really depressing when you get really frustrated because the world is not functioning as it should and that's so very clear to us but Lord as as believers and as people of your word I pray that we will take to heart this unique perspective that you've given to us that our hope is not in this life and there are of course things that we can hope for in this life and sometimes they come to pass and sometimes they don't but our hope is in what you will do in the future and so Lord as your word says we wait patiently for it but as we wait patiently Lord I pray that this this hope that you've given us will permeate the way that we think and the way that we act with the world around us and that the hope that you give us will produce a Nuss the desired result which we will look at your word next week to reveal what those things our Lord I pray that as we go out this week and the world will see that there is something different about us and that they will want to ask us about our hope thank you for the hope you've given to us in your Son Jesus Christ and it is in his name we pray amen and now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all meant.
Preacher: Josh WhiteAll of a short series on hope and for everyone here who is volunteering for vacation bible school this week and has been hoping that it would be cooler this week God answered our prayers and I think it's becoming a reality so we're excited about that but last week when we did as we just said we talked about the reasons why the Bible shares with us why it's important for us to think about and talk about the hope to God gives us and so I'm just going to recap those three points really quick one of the reasons why it's so important for us to know the hope that God has given to us is because we were focused on that hope it leads us towards maturity of a person knows the hope God is given to them the author of Hebrews says in Huber six eleven and we desire each of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of the hope of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish and so if someone knows the hope to god us call them to they're usually more productive in their life and so that's one of the reasons why we should think about the hope that God has called us to another reason is when we're focused on hope it can guard our hearts. We're going to fill our hearts with something we're going to hope for something and Paul says any fees that he prays that the eyes of our hearts will be enlightened to the hope that God has called us through the riches of His glorious inheritance in the Saints and so if somebody is focused on that hope they're not going to make room in their heart for something of a lesser hope and so when we're focused on the hope that God has called us to it gives us the ability to kind of guard our hearts and another reason third reason was a when we're focused on hope it helps us to live by faith if you truly believe that there is a God and that he will reward those who seek Him then by faith you will live according to your hope and so hope is extremely important and next week we're going to do is we're going to talk about the things that we can be confident about now we're talking generically about hope but next week we're going to say the Bible says this specific thing the. Specific things are things that you can hope for in the future but today what I want to do is talk about or look at the things the Bible really cautioned us about regarding how we put our hope in what we put our hope in. You're here today and because you're a human being I know that right now you hope in certain things. And all this week every single day this past week you were hoping for certain things and every single day next week you're going to be hoping for certain things we are creatures of hope we just that's what we do and usually when we hope for something one of two things ultimately will happen we will get what we hoped for and then we will live happily ever after because we'll never hope for something else right or we won't get what we're hoping for and depending on what we were hoping for and how much control we gave that in our lives it could possibly change the way that we live in the way that we view life.So when we're talking about hope I think all of us just generally know what hope is I want to kind of give a discount of a definition when we say that we hope for something what we're doing is we have a longing or an expectation of something positive to happen to us that's why we hope and when we hope for something to happen and it happens it's it's wonderful but when it doesn't it sometimes it can really hurt.Public came for the first verse on the screen this is Proverbs thirteen twelve this is reading from the E.S.B. and this is a great way to describe that hope that is dashed it's hope deferred makes the heart sick but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.So those passages saying you know if we're careless about the things we put our hope in we will experience a lot of heartache and so that's why God cautions us about the things that we put our hope in and so this morn. What we're going to do is we're going to talk about two primary things that every single human being that has ever lived usually puts their hope in and we're going to see how the Bible gives us a caution or a warning about those things and so let's start with the first thing usually the first thing everyone puts their hope in is people we put our hope in other people and what I want you to do is I want you to look at this verse again and I want you to apply it to people and see if this is ever come true in your life OK ready hope deferred if you've ever placed your hope in another human being Hope deferred makes the heart sick so if anyone ever here in this room ever had a sick heart or a broken heart because someone that you hoped you put your hoping to somebody else for something specific and it didn't come to pass and you just felt secure something they every single person in this room has had that that's when we get the term you know broken hearted from we want someone to fulfill a desire for fill some expectation of ours and when it doesn't happen it can really hurt but I think we all can understand and apply this warning about placing our hope and people one way that we can understand the warnings that the Bible is giving us is if we describe it this way to say that we put our hope in people it's when and we all do this it's when we pin our emotional wellbeing on the performance of another person.If you are done that you say something like this if they this person does this whatever it is that we're hoping they will do then I will feel fill in the blank and usually that film a blank is a list of of many positive emotions like if someone so does this for me they fulfill this hope that I'm wanting them to fulfill then they will experience relief or I will experience comfort or I will experience. Site meant to write will experience joy and so what we do is we take this hope and we put it on another person and we're hoping that they will fulfill our expectations because we want to get some good emotions out of it.David wrote about putting his hope and others back there's there's so many verses in the Bible about the talk about this I'm just going to read one on this is from Psalm thirty three you can turn there really quick if you would like I'm just going to go ahead and read this. But Psalm thirty three in this is when David is putting he's talking about not putting his hope in other people to be rescued he's what he's talking about physically being rescued from danger. Some thirty three sixteen to eighteen King David says the king is not saved by his great army a warrior is not delivered by his great strengths and verse seventeen this is a verse that says the war horse is a false hope for salvation Now this isn't a person this is something else but he's hoping that a horse is going to bring him salvation and I love how we have a horse up here today I should have this like right here in the war horse in front of you and I've been a great but King David says the war horse is a false hope for salvation and by its might it cannot rescue behold the eyes of the Lord is on those who fear him on those who hope in his steadfast love that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive and stand in our soul waits for the Lord He is our help and our shield for our heart is glad in him because we trust in His holy name.But we do this with people don't we we put our hope in people and when was the last time someone disappointed you. You probably look at your watch right and say well this morning someone disappointed me or last week or or whatever it doesn't take long for us to be disappointed with people and so a great question to ask for any of us if someone is disappointing you or if you find yourself repeatedly being disappointed by. People your hardest crushed the maybe a question that we should ask ourselves is was that person truly responsible and qualified to be in control of your emotions that's what we do we give people control of our emotions and that's what the Bible is warning us about when it is when it when it deals with giving our hope to another person you know especially for this sermon in particular I wanted this to be very practical and I thought of a whole bunch of different illustrations that I could use about people disappointing us in it and in fact if we were if we took a microphone and just kind of pass it around the room you could probably say yeah this last week so and so didn't do this or didn't do that and we can talk about the disappointment that we have in others but I want to share with you something and this is I guess a lesson that I've learned as a pastor All right so I want to talk to you about a lesson that I've learned about how to put my hope and how not to put my hope in people in the church all right you ready for this and and you'll be able to relate to this I promise you because we're all human beings and this isn't just that this church is this isn't any church well I learned especially in the first couple of years of my ministry I've been doing I'm going to pastor now for over one thousand years so I'm not I'm not new at this but in the first couple years I would always hope for people in the church to respond certain ways to do certain things and and sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn't but there's one thing I learned in particular and that is when new people come to the church every pastor is going to hope that they like the church when they come back that's a normal healthy thing for a pastor to do right some comes to church oh great I like them that they fit in really well here I hope they come back but I learned in those first first couple of years in particular to not put a lot of hope in that because you have no control over what's going to happen and I found that if someone someone comes and I and I reach out to them and they don't come back then I get I get burned and I get hurt and so I try to kind of manage that a little bit and so for any of you here the first time I met you I hope that you would return. Third but I didn't give you control of my heart and that's kind of a balance that I want to maintain so I won one time in particular going to share with you and this was here at the church probably about eight years ago I talk to Christian about this you remember this but there was this young family that came in and and I met with them and I said How are you doing and who brings you to the church and they said well we just moved up here from another part of the city and we've been to a few churches but no one has reached out to us and no one has tried to make us part of the church and I thought All right well I'm going to take this is my personal responsibility I am going to go above and beyond I'm going to prove to this person and I like him you know we got along I want to prove to him that we are a loving caring church and that we will reach out and that we will try to bring someone into the life of the church and so we had them over for dinner in fact I remember their kids we gave their kids some of our hand me downs we invited them to the camping trip which we really went above and beyond with this family and so there they were attending the church for two or three months and then there was a couple Sundays when they didn't show up and so I emailed them and I said hey you notice you haven't been to church in the last couple weeks and you said yeah you know we decided we're going to keep looking for another church we just we didn't get plugged in like we wanted to.And I felt like I got kicked right in the stomach I mean that hurt it really hurt because I had done everything right.And I put my hope another person at us I do this if I act this way then they will act the way that I expect them to and guess what they did and that's happened before and it'll happen again and it was hard and you know I kind of burned myself because I already knew that lesson not to do that. So I don't want you to misunderstand what I'm saying and I don't want to talk about putting our hope and others I don't think the Bible is teaching us and I'm not. Trying to say that we need to build a brick wall around our hearts and not let anyone get in and try to protect ourselves from being hurt I don't think the Bible's teaching that at all but the Bible does say I think to be wise and to never put your Hopefully in a person because there is no human being that is able to act in such a way to satisfy all of your needs God is just not designed human beings to do that and maybe you'll find one or two people to do most of that for a season or a period in your life that's why it's so important to put our hope truly fully in God because only God can do that for us. So the Bible does give us this caution or warning about people but at the same time we do need to invest in people we do need to love them we do need to reach out but never do so setting all of your hope that another person is going to respond the same way and we just need to do the right thing and really leave the results to God And so that's the first thing the first thing the bible kind of warns us about don't put your hope fully in another person to respond the way that you're hoping that they're going to respond and so what happens usually when people get burned out by other people they stop putting their hope in people and they put it in something else what do you think that thing is. Money that's the other thing that people put their hope in so it's a second thing the second warning you know around Valentine's Day I remember seeing this and I remembered it and I Googled it I found it but there was this online poll this last Valentine's Day So just a couple months ago and the question said this would you rather have true love for your entire life or a million dollars every year for the rest of your life.So basically what you want you I love or money and you want to know the results are very interesting forty four percent of married people said they would rather have the money. I know this is so it was so almost sixty percent said no I'm married I'm happy I this is what I how and this is what I want and not surprisingly seventy one percent of people who were either divorced or separated not in a relationship seventy one percent said Oh I'd rather have the money that I'd rather have the money they've been burned they put their hope in another person at one point in time they said nope that's not going to satisfy me I'd rather take money so I was just appalled that when it was online you know there's a lot of things that the Bible talks about money and you have to ask the question why why does the Bible talk so much about money and I think maybe one of the reasons is because we as human beings we tend to give so much control and power over to money in our lives we put so much of our hope in money and what it can do for us.So what I want to do is I want to look at a couple of verses right now the first is an X. Chapter sixteen and there are two reasons I'm just going to share two reasons this morning why we are given these cautions about money and the first reason for the warning is because the hope of getting money can cause someone to devalue people who say that again if someone puts their hope and money the warning is they can put so much hope in money that it will devalue the people in their life they will see people as an obstacle in their way to get money all right. Good example of this is an action for sixteen beginning in verse sixteen.At sixteen sixteen and this is a passage of Paul and Silas I believe Silas is on the second missionary journey they're traveling through the land and they come across a situation sixteen sixteen says as we were going to the place of prayer we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners might she gain by her fortune telling she followed Paul and us crying out these men are servants. The most high God who proclaim to you the way of salvation and this she kept doing for many days though she must've been like a three year old little girl just following around why not just Katie. And she kept doing this for many days and Paul having become greatly annoyed turned and said to the spirit I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her and it came out of her her that very hour but when her owner saw that their hopes of gain was gone they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers and when they brought them to the magistrates they said these men are Jews and they were disturbing our city and so these men had placed their hope in money and the two things that they did wrong is number one is they viewed this slave girl as having no value to them other than the fact that she could prophesied and so they viewed her not as a human being but as a way for them to make profit they valued money over the life of this little girl and the second thing they did is when they saw the the good thing that Paul did for this lady this little girl he freed her from demon possession he freed her and yet they were upset with Paul and Silas for doing it and so they devalued human life and elevated money over them so that's one of the things one of the warnings for us about money another warning is that when we put our hope in money is a might destroy a relationship.Or actually rather the second reason is when we put our hope in money on it's really basing or we're putting our hope in things that are outside of our control and into something that is unstable the Bible tells us too many times that finances and money are very uncertain a passage I read a couple weeks ago and which is kind of the reason why I wanted to talk about this series for these are few weeks is and first Timothy six seventeen. And the first time of the six seventeen It says As for the rich in this present age charge them not to be hearty nor to set their hopes on the. Certainty of riches but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy and so Paul is warning God is warning all of us don't set your hopes on riches because they're uncertain what's here today can be gone tomorrow how many of you remember blockbuster videos you know we all probably do you know at the time Blockbuster stock was sky high and then the subtle thing called the Internet just started exploding and red box and a Netflix came out and people who had stock in blockbuster you know what it's worth today probably nothing I don't even know if block a blockbuster stock is around and even bookstores you know with Amazon and people ordering things online and so the Bible is teaching us this lesson and we're seeing it right before our very eyes people can be investing in something financially with their with their time and their energy and in six months from now a new invention or a new discovery or a new technology can make something that today is very valuable absolutely worthless and so the Bible says Be very careful and cautious about putting your hope in money because it's so uncertain value can change just like that so don't put your hope in that and that's actually why it's important to diversify now and you know the Bible teaches us about diversification you know that that saying don't put all your eggs into one. Basket that's biblical a couple places teaching us about diversification ecclesiastics eleven to eleven six Khaleesi assays eleven to says Cast your bread upon the water for you will find it after many days give a portion to seven or even to eight for you do not know what disaster may happen on Earth and so in other words don't you know don't count on any one thing to bring you happiness Well I have an illustration for you have an example about not putting your hope in money. Most people have to earn money in their entire life and hopefully they get to a point where it can provide security in money can do that. For people but some people they they don't want to do that they want to get rich instantly and so what's the one way people put their hope and what's the one thing people but they're hoping to get wealthy immediately overnight the lottery that's right and so you know what I want to do I want to put first team of these six seventeen to the test and so yesterday I went out and I bought a lottery ticket that's right in fact I was planning on doing this and I looked up on line and it just so happened that the lottery yesterday the jackpot was the eighth highest in the history the jet quote yesterday was four hundred thirty five million dollars. And if you take taxes out that means you're only left with two hundred and seventy three million dollars only right I know that's kind of that's a number that's hard for us to comprehend and so let me just kind of break it down a little bit for you if you were to earn that much money after taxes over a typical forty year career All right that's basically six point eight million a year how would you like that to be your annual salary for forty years that's pretty good right so it's kind of hard to understand and so if you broke that down to an hourly wage forty hours a week fifty two weeks a year that's three thousand two hundred eighty two dollars an hour. That's that's a good salary right or break that down it's fifty four dollars per minute after tax.Basically that's almost like every second someone hands you a dollar for forty years can you imagine what that would be like you go to bed you sleep for eight hours you wake up and there's twenty five thousand dollars sitting at the end of your bed every night for forty years so this is a lot of money and I thought so I picked the numbers this is what I did as I picked the numbers one six seven hundred forty three fifty four and the Powerball is five I did these numbers because First Timothy six seventeen says so I picked one six seventeen. I think forty three because I'm forty three years old I picked fifty four because first some of the is the fifty fourth book in the Bible and I picked five for the Powerball because I have five people in my family and so I did this right before noon and all yesterday afternoon guess what I got a danger about this is fun I did you know about what I would do with all the money at two hundred seventy but that's a lot of money and so I thought well obviously I would pay off the church's mortgage right there's not much left I would do that and then I would go next door and knock on the door and say all right how much you want we're just going to buy this all right I'll probably go to Grace Bible College and say All right what are your wildest dreams let's let's just make it happen and if you want to move you want to build a bigger campus somewhere I would help mission organizations I would do this if if this were and I'm not going to tell you if I want to or not all right but if I win that's what I wanted to do in fact I also thought I'm going to treat the people at my church and everyone who is in attendance today this is where you can start to get your hopes up I'm going to buy you a new car this is the winning ticket and I thought you know I'm going to buy you not just like a Honda Civic I'm going to buy you a luxury car like a thirty five thousand a car all right and I figured if we have about one hundred eighty five people here today I have no idea how many people would be that six point eight million but I'm willing to do it for you because I love you and I'd still have two hundred sixty six million left over so I thought I could do that and then I thought you know I did so I have a lot of money left over and so what are some of the things that I would do for me while I pay off my mortgage and then I'd probably buy myself a new car like a really fast one and then I would buy lots of motorcycles Revelle. A man I'd buy one for every day of the week at a different type screw what kind of mood I'm in and then and then I honestly started thinking OK I'm probably not going to win but what if I did what are some of the bad things that could happen and there are some bad things that could happen I know it would change my relationship with everyone that I know people would view me as a name. A.T.M. machine in fact I was talking to somebody about this yesterday I went home and Christian's uncle he is here he goes you know you probably couldn't be a pastor anymore could you go I don't know that I mean I would just change all those dynamics I thought Well another thing that's bad that could happen to me is maybe I would just get caught up into green. If you have money and you're able to buy all these things maybe that would just consume me I I would hope that it wouldn't but if you didn't spend years earning that amount of money is just dropped in your lap that it can ruin people and then I thought probably the worst thing that could possibly happen if I won the lottery last night is that I wouldn't be able to preach the sermon. I have to change this point at the very least this is kind of a joke. And so obviously because I'm preaching a sermon I didn't win all right so there's no new car for you now you're going to get over it though it wasn't there wasn't too much of a hope for you but you know what's funny is I checked the numbers late last night in fact I forgot about it now I got to check the numbers and and I didn't even match one one of the numbers of the six that are there but I was still a little disappointed for just a second I thought you know that's crazy how I'm disappointed that I didn't win two hundred seventy one million dollars after tax and I'm definitely over by now but I just saw you know it's so true that we as human beings we're just so careless about where we put our hope and we buy what tells us to be very careful where we put our hope because our hearts are very precious God cares about us and he wants us to guard our hearts and so that's why he gives us this warning about placing our hope and money and also placing our hope in people.Proverbs twenty three four three five says Do not toil to acquire wealth be discerning enough to desist It's for people who are thinking money is going to be the answer to all my problems. So then what are we supposed to do are we supposed to. Go through life without any expectations that's not at all what the Bible is teaching us so we will get excited about certain things and and I'm sure from time to time we will put our hope and people will put our hope in possibly getting a raise and and I think that's common and that's that's understandable but the wisdom that we're getting from the board of God is to be wise and to not give that much control of our hearts and our minds to anything else. You know yesterday was kind of an interesting day for me I'm going to tell you about my sister I haven't talked about her I have three sisters my older sister the one who's just two years older than me her name is Amy and for pretty much all of her adult life since she was seventeen she's had collided it's kind of a stomach issue problems and it's been getting really really bad these last couple of months back when I was back in Michigan.For the pastor's conference she was in such pain she was unable even to get out of bed and we took her to the emergency room and so it's been getting so bad that she's going back to the hospital and and she said I am in so much pain we need to do something about it so they took an M.R.I. and they realize that she has such a blockage in her colon the large intestine that essentially her colon is dead and they have to remove her colon and this is this is quite serious and so this is just with just a few days ago they discovered this and so in one way it's an answer to prayer because she's been in such pain and today this morning on Sunday they were scheduling to remove her colon and she's going to have to adjust to life but she's a she's a strong lady she'll do it and so yesterday all afternoon I'm daydreaming about winning the lottery and then about four or five o'clock I get a text from my mom and says Amy was given a shot by the doctors in preparation for her surgery for Sunday morning and she had such a bad reaction to it they're rushing you're in for emergency surgery and so here I meant I'm at home I'm daydreaming jokingly about winning a lottery and my hope went from that. Too literally I hope my sister doesn't die tonight.And I thought wow what how crazy is that about our emotions the surgery was a success I don't know all the details she made it through the surgery they did remove her colon I haven't talked to her but she survived but I just I was on such a roller coaster of emotions yesterday and it's true what the Bible is teaching us if we put our hope in anything other than God that much hope we're going to be balancing around from one thing to the next hoping in this and hoping in that and literally for minutes a minute hoping from one thing to the next and so as we go through life we are still going to hope and hope for such a wonderful gift that God has given to us it gives spice in the flavor and color to life and we will still hope in people we will still hope in in resources and I don't think that's wrong but hopefully by knowing these warnings will prevent us from giving these things control over our lives you know the one thing that we can fully place our entire hope on and not be disappointed is and God and we need to make sure that we're doing that and not only us but we're teaching our children in the next generation this is where you put your hope not in people not in things not in money not in politicians but in God on a close by reading from Psalm seventy eight. And some seventy eight verses five to rate.It says. He established a testimony in Jacob and a point to the line his rule which he commanded our fathers to teach their children that the next generation might know them the children yet unborn and their eyes and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments and that they should not be like their father's a stubborn and rebellious generation a generous. Heart was not steadfast whose spirit was not faithful to God.God created us to be creatures of hope and what's a tremendous blessing for us so let's make sure that we put our trust in God and our hope only fully in him let's close in prayer.Dear lord we have so many things to be thankful for today I always thank you for the lessons that we learn throughout our life sometimes when our heart is broken because of things that we hope for they don't take place and Lord that leads us hopefully to maturity if we apply your word to our lives a lot as we look at these warnings today about placing too much of our hope and control in people and money and possessions Lord you're trying to guard our hearts and allow them to be filled only with the hope that you give us that someday we will spend eternity with you and Lord we reserve that spot in our hearts for the hope that you have given to us then it leads to so many positive things so I pray that as we come back next week and we look at the things specifically that you said that we can hope for that it will it will guide our lives that it will lead towards maturity and productivity it will guard our hearts from filling them with things that cannot bring us hope and it will ultimately lead us to being able to live out our faith Lord I thank you for my sister thank you that you brought through that surgery and even if you did or not have the hope of seeing your forever so I just pray for everyone here today whatever we're placing our hope and maybe in moderation and second and definitely secondly behind the hope that you have given us in your words we thank you and we love you for the hope you've given us in Jesus Christ and His name we pray him and. Now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all amen.
Preacher: Josh WhiteAll right well congratulations Adam Gray Matthew Myers that's that's exciting it's an exciting time of life how many of you remember when you graduated from high school you know I was thinking about that yesterday it's been twenty five years for me and I think how did that happen because it seems like just a couple years ago but I think one word would probably describe what Adam and Matthew are feeling is hope their lives are right in front of them all these possibilities of all these different kinds of hopes hope of a rewarding career whatever they choose to get into hope of future relationships you know finding that special someone starting out maybe having a family someday and and the hope of a future adventures and so out of the Matthew you we wish you the best in anything that you do in your life and we hope that it's good how many of you would like to go back to that time in your life I wouldn't have been there done that although physically maybe it might be nice to come to be at that point well last week for those of you were here remember because it was Memorial Day I did kind of just a one time topical sermon on things that were supposed to remember and what we did is we looked at the Bible the Bible filled with all these different times where it says remember this remember that to do this in remembrance of me and so what I did is I picked out for that I thought were kind of logical and for those of you were here let me tell you what we did last week we talked about how the Bible tells us to remember that we are temporary that this life is not going to live forever we will live forever but this period in our time in our lives is temporary so remember that the second thing is because of that.Don't get so worked up about the small things focus on the big things in life specifically the things that are eternal in nature the third thing is to hope put your hope in God Remember to put your hope only in God because everything else is probably going to. The point you and the fourth thing is to remember to be generous and as I was preparing for the sermon last week I enjoyed putting together a sermon like that the third point of putting your hope and God I was a little frustrated even though it was my own fault because I'm writing my own sermon but I was thinking I'd really rather spend a lot of time on talking about hope because hope is one of my favorite subjects and I think I'm probably not alone I'm sure a lot of pastors like that I'm sure most of you here would say that hope is one of your favorite subjects in the Bible because the Bible gives us all these wonderful things that we can look forward to and we can have hope in and so what I want to do today is talk about hope and we're going to do that for the next three weeks so we're done with Daniel we're done with our series and Daniel when I started out with Daniel I knew the first six chapters were narrative there were stories I knew we would go through those and enjoy looking at these need stories seven through twelve Chapter seven through twelve are all about things that are going to happen in the future there apocalyptic literature prophetic literature and I was debating Should I even try to do anything with those in a sermon and I was reading through that and I went Yeah I'm not going to touch those that might be better for a Sunday school class but there are a lot harder to preach on and so I'm not doing that and then I also thought we have camp coming up on my family and I will be going back to Michigan for a couple weeks here pretty quick and so I didn't want to get into another big series and so I wanted to do something in my mind fun and practical and so what I'm going to do is a short series on hope and so today we're going to do is we're going to talk about the importance of hope the Bible tells us just how important it does for us to set our hearts and our minds on the hope that God gives us in His Word and the next the next two Sundays after that we'll talk about the things that God cautions us about being hopeful about their me. The thing is that we place our hope in this life they're not wrong or sinful but the Bible says if you're putting your hope on these things be very careful because it can lead to disappointment can lead to problems in your life and then the third week we'll look at the things that the Bible tells us that we can be confident about in our hope and we're going to get specific about hope then but right now today we're going to talk about the importance of being a person of hope and so right now this morning as we're just starting the month of June what in your life are you hopeful about it could be anything some of you might be hopeful about an athletic team does anyone here care about the N.B.A. finals I know they're on their second game is tonight is anyone really care who wins maybe a couple of people look at you who won Cleveland. You know what you're going to feel like you're on the spot but you know we get hopeful about different athletic teams sometimes we get hopeful about maybe a new job or promotion some of you might be thinking maybe this is the week that I'm going to find out if I get that promotion I think all of us are hoping that now that we're in summer that our air conditioning units don't break down right fact I came here this morning and we've been having some work done on the air conditioning units and I had to turn a couple of them on manually they're all programmed and in my office nothing was working at all and I started to get really panicky and I went out and I I did the circuit breaker and it turned about eventual You got it working but event I was hopeful this morning that the air conditioning was going to be broken and that it would turn on in my office well those are small trivial things and I think all of us hope for more significant things in life like some of you here this morning might be hoping regarding your health or the health of a loved one someone might be going through a very difficult time physically and you're hoping that the health will be restored for you or for someone else or maybe we hope for our financial situations some of you here might be thinking it's things are just so. Tight it's hard to get things to work together and you're hoping that maybe there might be a break in the future where things will start giving you some relief and I think we're always hoping in relationships you know the younger people that you know growing up in life they're hopeful that they'll meet that special someone someday soon I think most of us are hoping that certain relationships we have with other people that they're going to improve that they'll get better and hopefully all of us are hopeful that our relationship with God will continue to grow and and mature but when it comes to hope as human beings we are always hoping in something we're people of hope I read a quote by a pastor whose name is Irwin McManus in a book he wrote called Soul cravings He says it's about hope and I thought it was really good so I want to just repeat this for you he says hope is essential for our souls to thrive.And if you don't believe you have a future worth living for your spirit loses all hope and your soul was not designed to live without hope in fact when you lose all hope we lose all desire to live.So it's so good for us to have a hope it does so many positive things in our life and if there's not something that we're hoping in we can lose the desire to live altogether and I was thinking about this and how important hope is for me my whole life I've had the hope that God shares with us in His Word but not everyone has that and the time when people really wrestle with hope or they have hope or not is during certain funerals or memorial services and as a pastor I'm usually preaching and usually presiding over a believer who has passed away and we talk about the hope and it's very comforting and it actually kind of celebrate Tory but there was once one hundred funeral that I did actually here at this church for. A young lady and I don't know if she was saved or not but I can guarantee you that just the vast majority of the people in the same surely had no idea that there was a hope beyond this life. And the way that they were mourning during the spur of the funeral was frightening I've never seen people mourn that way and I just thought they had no hope of course I preach the gospel and I don't know what happened to them but just think about that if you have no hope for anything in the future in it it is debilitating and it can be very depressing so what I want to do this morning is I want to look at God's word and see how it reveals to us how important it is for us to be people of hope and that means that we need to spend time focusing on what God says we should hope for and if we do that it will make a huge difference in our lives and so I want to give you three reasons the Bible says that we should focus on our hope OK And this is going to be very general engineering the next two Sundays I'm going to talk about specific things that we should hope for but right now we're just talking about the reason why we should hope and the first reason is that the first reason why we should focus on hope the people of hope is because hope leads to maturity.Hopefully in our life to us maturing in the faith and at the same time a mature person is going to be productive with their life a person who wants hope is going to mature and they're going to be productive want to want to open your Bible Stu the Hebrews Chapter six but before that I want to you want to tell you about what I did this last Monday I mention last Sunday I was doing a Cross Fit hero WOD a workout of the day called the Murph and it was a one mile run you do one hundred Pull Ups two hundred pushups three hundred air squats and then when you're done with all that you do another mile run and so I did that this last Monday and I was really nervous about it I mean I was I was in my mind I could just picture my shoulders just you. Tearing off my body because I was can be so sore and I was I was nervous about that and I was really encouraged by how well I did and so I did it in forty five minutes and fifty four seconds probably remember that for the rest of my life and my goal was my hope was two things that I wouldn't die so I call Bush that but that it would be over soon and I did a lot better than I thought I would because someone said no the best way to do this is to not do the hundred pull ups right away in the two hundred pushups and then the three hundred or squats break it into twenty sets of five pull ups ten push ups and fifteen X. wants and so what I did is I had a little white board and everybody else in the cross the gym had had to I put twenty lines on this whiteboard and every time I finish one set of five pullups temper ships fifteen or squats I would mark it off. And so after I did five of those and ten of those I was like Hey I'm doing this I'm getting closer to the end so that was my hope my hope was I would get through it and I would finish that last mile and so I finally finish and I felt really good about myself I did a lot better than I thought I would and that's because I've been training all this time but you know I've mentioned before I'm doing cross to right now but I've done some some different running events and there's a couple reasons why I have done those and I do them number one is because there's something wrong with me mentally I'm kind of serious about that people have a sickness and you know that by now but the other reason is and I'm serious about this one is I think that if I put myself in these situations where I have to endure I have to get through something it's going to build up a strength for me not so much physically but mentally and emotionally that I can get through this and so when I can do that with little small things that don't really matter in life when I face something much bigger in life I can say no I can get through this because there's hope hope it does that for us we can get through anything in life if we had hope. All right he was Chapter six. I want to read and he research after six the author of Hebrews talks about the importance of hope and he says this Hebrews Chapter six beginning in verse one.He says Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and a face towards God and of instruction about washings and laying on of hands the resurrection of the dead in eternal judgment and this we will do of God permits and so the author of Hebrews is writing to them and saying we're stuck on the basic spokes we need to move on to the things that are going to actually mature you Christianity in our faith is more than just knowing that our sins have been forgiven by Jesus Christ actually begins but there's something else out there there's another thing that we should focus on a hope and if we focus on that hope then that leads to us being mature and that's what the author continues to write about Look at verse nine and so the author is writing to them and saying let's leave these elementary doctrines and let's talk about more verse nine. Though we speak in this way yet in your case beloved We feel sure of better things things that belong to salvation you see that little phrase there we feel sure of better things that is the definition of hope and so the author is saying there are things in your salvation that you should be focusing on and this is what happens when you do stand for God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the Saints as you still do and we and we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness and here it is to have the full assurance of hope until the end so that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who. You're facing patients inherit the promises so the author of Hebrews is saying that we feel sure of better things things that belong to salvation and so he's saying there is a hope that's out there and that hope is something that belongs to us someone who is called by God to be saved and if we focus on those things that we know for certain that we hope for that belong to us as children of God If we practice them we will become more like Christ and what happens when a person focus is on the better things that belong to salvation is it leads to maturity that's what he says Look at verse eleven again. And we desire each of you to show the same earnestness down the for sure and of hope till the end so that you may not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises and so this is teaching us that a person who is focused on hope they will become mature.And a person who is focused on hope they will become mature they will be productive in their life and the opposite of that is just as true. I think all of us have probably gone through times in our life were we are just inundated flooded with negative thoughts self-defeating thoughts have you ever thought to yourself you know what am I doing here I'm not getting anything done in life I'm very unproductive you know what is the point of all this if you if you've ever had any of those kinds of thoughts it's usually when we're not focused on hope and that's when we come very unproductive in life you know another reason why I'm doing cross that is because I need sermon illustrations and so you're stuck with Cross Fit for a while maybe I'll have another hobby another couple years but the thing across that is every day this is something that they say it in my box I don't know if they say this in other places but there is this montra or this motto do something like this by doing this you will be better tomorrow than you are today and this whole idea that when you go in there and you do. The work that you're going to get better and there are some times when I go in there and I do a workout and I feel like oh that was awesome I feel like I'm getting stronger and there are some times like the one that I did on Friday and I had when I was done I thought I just took two giant steps backwards I feel like a big pathetic loser everyone in this gym is looking at me like I'm the weakest slowest person around and it was very frustrating but our coach says trust the process trust the process meaning if you go and you put in the work you will get better and likewise if you and I are going to focus on negative things in this world the negative things in your life you're not focusing on the hope that God has given to you and if that's the case you're not going to mature in the faith and so focusing on our hope gives the Holy Spirit something to work with and so hopefully you're starting to see the importance of hope when you have a hope and you're focused on it it will help you lead towards maturity so that's the first reason why we as believers should focus on our hope the second reason why is because hope will guide and it will guard our hearts if we focus on the hope that God promises to us it will guide our hearts and maybe just as importantly it will guard our hearts from the things that we should not put into our hearts. Now when we say that we have hope there is think I think is part of our body that we associate with hope more than any anything else and I think it's safe to say it's our heart right because when you're hoping for something your heart starts to kind of form an attachment to it and there's a longing in there is a desire for it and you get excited about it and the Bible I think I'm rightfully confirms that that our hope is attached to our heart I want you to go over to a fish and Chapter one.If Eason's chapter one. Elations effusions Philippians collections and only feed in Chapter one The apostle Paul writes The. Very interesting phrase and he catches our heart to the hope that God has for us. So he's in chapter one beginning in verse seventeen.Says if you choose one seventeen.That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of Revelation in the knowledge of Him In other words Paul saying I hope that God will allow you to know more and more about him verse eighteen having the eyes of your heart in lightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you what are the blue the riches of His glorious inheritance in the Saints and what is the a measurable greatness of this power towards us who believe according to the working of his great might you're right there in the middle there is such an interesting phrase Paul writes and he says this is the city it says the eyes of your own heart are enlightened.Now kind of imagine there is like some emotion out there for you know as a heart with these big eyes these eyes are getting bigger and so this is saying that our heart there's something in our heart when we know this hope that we have been called to our heart will kind of wake up and say Ah that's it this is it this is what I'm supposed to be longing in desiring and it says specifically that this hope is listen to this the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints that's our hope and this should capture our hearts so that we won't waste the longing of our hearts on anything less That's why I hope captures and guides and protects our heart this last week after Memorial Day on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday Christian and I used on the ten year anniversary gift that you as a church gave to us David and Sara I think you've probably been to this place a couple times they were it is called orchard canyon it used to be called garlands lodge is about ten miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon and it's basically. Like a bed and breakfast but it's a bed and breakfast and really good dinner and so we were up there on Tuesday night Wednesday night and Thursday night and the food was absolutely amazing it was phenomenal every night they had a four course meal and everything is homegrown homemade from scratch they have a really good chef there so we were really looking forward to that and they had a made to order breakfast which was really good and so I guess what you do when you're out of place has no wife I know civi no internet nothing like that where you sit around you relax and eat way too much and so the first day night we ate a whole bunch and we ate everything on the plate and and we were just like uncomfortably full which was wonderful like the first night and then you wake up and then say OK here's the here's your options for breakfast I'm like oh wow this this this and and then we batten and guess what we're uncomfortable the whole day and then we go that night and we're just topped off you're not hungry you're just topping off what you ate and so the third night I wised up I said you know what I don't want to be uncomfortable again for the third night in a row but I also want to make sure that I save room in my stomach for the things that I really want and so we look at the menu and everything looks good but the entree and a succession of the dessert were really good and so I knew I had to make a sacrifice and so I didn't eat all the soup I know that was a lot of self restraint for me I only had half the super No I ate half the salad those are really good because I knew that there was something better coming and I wanted to save room for it. You know can you think of any example in the Bible when someone gave up something of a measurable importance for some instant gratification that was just nothing compared to what they gave up in other words like the eyes of their heart lost sight of the great hope that they had been the best example of this is probably between Jacob and Esau Esau is that mighty warrior he went out one day and he spent probably all day or maybe a couple days hunting and he came back and he was really hungry and a sneaky brother Jacob he had made a nice big. Pot of lentils stew which sounds disgusting but I guess maybe it was really good and he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup I want to read that story for you out of Genesis Genesis twenty five. Ten says twenty five twenty nine it says once when Jacob was cooking stew Esau came in from the field and he was exhausted and he said to Jacob Oh Hamid some of that red stew for I am exhausted therefore his name was called Jacob said What a horrible brother he said Sell me your birthright now and these I said I am about to die of what use is my birthright to me Jacob said Swear to me now so he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob Jacob gave isa bread and lentil stew and he ate and drank and rose and went away then he saw despised his birthright you know not moment the only hope that he saw had was that he would live through the night and see another day.But the greater hope that he had was his birthright which was he had so much more importance than one bowl of soup in that moment he exchanged the greater hope for a lesser hope and that's the danger that you and I face if we aren't focused on the hope that God has called to us we might let the eyes of our heart wander and fall in love with something that is not nearly as good as the hope they got as called us to and so don't waste the room in your heart for a lesser hope.And so that's why it's so important for us to think about hope and to know the hope that God has given to us and so are you seeing this are you seeing how the Bible is teaching us how important hope is hope leads us to maturity in being productive in our face Hope also guides in Guards our heart and finally the third thing that hope does is this when we are focused on the hope that God gives us in the Bible then hope will help us live by faith hope will help us to live by faith open your Bibles to hubris chapter a lie.Hebrews chapter eleven the great chapter on faith and this is what the author of Hebrews writes to us about Hebrews chapter eleven beginning in verse one.And this teaches us how hope and faith work together but it starts with hope faith is almost meaningless if it's not focused on a specific hope that's what it says and he receives a lot when one says Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen and so hope is the center of how we live once we find a hope then we can live by face based on what we hope for but verse six.And without faith it is impossible to please God for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek Him So here in verse six says a very important phrase is impossible to please God with our face but we see that that's based on hope what is the hope there are in verse six The hope is that God is real and that if by face God is real we live to see him that we will be rewarded and then we have a really great example of someone who was acting on their hope in face they acted on their hope for seven. Years by face no being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith and so for no I always hope the God would save him from the coming wrath but he believed in God and that there was wrath coming there was a flood coming and so in face he built the ark because that was his hope and Noah preached the coming wrath to the world around him and the hope for deliverance but guess what the world around him did they never exchanged the hope that they had in. Their hearts for worldly pleasure for a better hope and that is the deliverance that God could offer them and so face is allowing us to live if we know what our hope is and so do you want to know specifically what God has told us to hope for well this is kind of my hope for the next couple weeks you know I had to we looked at a couple of passages that they mention a couple things that we can hope for we didn't get specific and we didn't define them but over the next two weeks what I'm going to do like I mentioned before as I'm going to talk about the things that we naturally hope for in life that God cautions us about because what happens when you hope for something and you don't get it you get really disappointed and that could lead to problems in your life and so we'll talk about that and and how to handle those situations but then we'll also talk about the things that God gives us confidence about and that we should we should be focusing on but I want you to look at one last verse and this is found in Romans eight thirty two so open your Bibles over to Romans eight thirty two.In studying for this this week I was reading some articles that some other people wrote and one pastor said that his favorite verse in all the Bible is Romans eight thirty two and after reading it I can I can see why he said that it's not a verse I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that this was their favorite verse but this is at the center of his faith and ultimately ours so Romans eight let's read verses thirty one and thirty two it says What then shall we say to these things that God has for us who can be against us he who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all how will he not also with them graciously give us ALL THINGS.And so Paul says that along with Christ Himself God is going to I want you to get this God will give us all things with Christ and so one of those things don't you want to know what those things are and you see the. Confidence that we have in this passage because God gave up his son then we can have the confidence that God is going to give us all things along with him well we'll talk about more of that in the weeks to come but today what I'm hoping you'll do is you'll start thinking and realizing just how important your hope is God's Hope true hope and so let that whole moving you to do this me a moving you to lead you towards maturity into a productive life in Christ and made God's Hope move in you to guard and to guide your heart so that you're only giving it to the hope of God and I hope that God will pour out his hope in your life so that it will cause you to live by faith and so as you go off in these next few weeks hope they dream about the things that God has planned for you set your minds on things above you know I was thinking about this what it would look like to walk into two different types of groups of people let's say you walk into a church and just imagine what would it be like if you walked into a church whether it's our church or another church and everybody in that church building knew very clearly what their hope was and they thought about it on a daily basis what kind of environment do you think that church would be like would be just contagious and exciting there would be this sense of anticipation that all those people would have what if you walked into a room was filled with people who had no hope at all would you want to spend a lot of time with them it would be really depressing and discouraging So the next couple weeks we're going to look at these two things things to be cautious about with hope and the things that we can be confident about but in closing I want to just remind you all of our mission statement here from the church of Phoenix you walk in you see it on the wall every day every Sunday you come in here but our mission statement is that we want to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching in encouragement of God's word in the only way that this church can be filled with people who are committed followers is if we are people of hope. Hope will make us committed to Jesus Christ can you put up that last first back or what it what it says in Romans Romans fifteen for it says. For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through in durance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope and so we're going to be committed followers of Christ it's going to be because we have a very firm understanding of the HOPE THE GOD has called us to and so I hope that you see today you see just how important hope is and that you will let the hope that God has revealed to us in His Word give you encouragement and the endurance for all of us to live by faith was close in prayer and look forward to the weeks to come your Lord I thank you so much for today and Lord in your words you give us hope and today we've just talked about just the importance of hope and I pray that all of us will see how true this is and Lord we might not be able to control the events that happen to us on a daily and and a weekly and a yearly basis but the one thing that we can't control are the thoughts that go through our minds and if we are able to with our minds focus on the hope that you promise to us in your word that's going to change the things that we long for change the things that we attach a heart to in all change the way that we interact with others and so Lord help us to be people of hope that if anyone were to come into these walls on a Sunday morning or any other time that we're meeting together that they would sense the hope that we have not only in this life but most especially the life to come and so Father I pray that we will be blessed by spending these weeks talking about the hope that you give to us in your holy word we pray this and Christ name him in. Now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father the fellowship of the.
Preacher: Josh WhiteI don't actually want you to tell me right now but I didn't just think about that I thought about that I don't know if I can come up with the scariest thing hopefully it's already passed and I want to face anything really scary in the future but one thing that is scary for me are roller coasters how many of you like roller coasters probably most of you OK A lot of your reason your hands I am afraid of heights and so naturally roller coasters they feel they really frighten me and so this last spring break we took the kids to Knott's Berry Farm and to Disneyland it was a great time and it probably been about fifteen or so years since I had really been on a natural roller coaster and so we're getting there and and I see the first one as we're walking up went to Knott's Berry Farm the first day and there were there was barely anyone there and so we were on so many rides by the end of the day I couldn't go on anymore I think it is exam getting older or you just had so many and maybe my equilibrium was being messed up but I will get in line for the very first roller coaster and to get myself on the ride I have to trick myself I have to do these mental things and any of you are afraid of things like this maybe do the same thing but what I have to do is I have to remember and I'm standing in line ready to get on this roller coaster after myself OK The people who made this ride engineered it and designed it so that I wouldn't fall off and die you know I really have to I have to think those thoughts make sure that I get on this and I'm not going to die and then as I'm standing in line and as the pressure is getting a little bit more like OK there's like three or four more times and then I'm going to be on this ride and what I do is I do these mental tricks I see all the people they get on the ride and then they notice two minutes later guess what those same people are getting off so OK no one knew no one was dropped out way through the ride and means I'm probably going to make it back as well and also the people when they get on the ride right before they go you know what their faces look like they're all scared but when they get back you know what their faces look like now. So much fun if I go OK they enjoyed it they enjoyed it too I probably will too and I also have to remind myself that I'm not the very first person that will go on the tracks this is gone through many many times before and so I'm not the guinea pig I'm not the test subject I will survive and I will get back in so. We had a great time I'm glad that I kind of overcame my fears but if that's so it's a real thing for me and if you're scared of heights you probably can relate to that. You know in life we're going to face a lot of scary situations. The thing is that with a roller coaster you know exactly how it's going to end up the people get on the Get Back off well we're going to face decisions throughout our lifetime where we say I need to make a decision I have to do something in the situation in the soon as I make this decision I'm not sure what's going to happen I'm not sure what the outcome is going to be and so what we usually have to do is we have to let two things help us make up our minds in those kinds of situations. Are saying that we have that God will give us to help make those decisions is our intellect God gave us a mind so that we can comprehend the outcome of situations and scenarios and so when you're thinking of a decision it's best to think now if I do this what's the logical consequences what are the all the possible outcomes of these scenarios that if I make this decision and sometimes within our own wisdom and in our own understanding we can figure things out but then there are some times when God is asking us to do things that might not make sense and that's when we're supposed to trust him. And those situations can be very scary for us from time to time Alberta can you put up on Proverbs three five and six this is also on the cover of your bulletins this is one of those verses that it's just it's just timeless and it's applicable for so many things in life and our board meeting this last Monday night each of the board members brings a devotion and. They've brought a devotion in to use this Proverbs three five and six and I want to read this and what I want to do it because when we read it I thought Boy this really applies to the message that I'm going to be preaching on Sunday the last half of Daniel Chapter six of Proverbs three five and six says. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight paths. And so as we go through life I'm sure everyone here has seen how this is so true time and time again sometimes we need to look beyond our own understanding and just realize that God will only lead us to things that are in our best interest ultimately they're going to give him the glory Well last week we started reading the story about Daniel in the Lion's Den I want you to open the Daniel Chapter six. And we didn't read till the end of the story and so I know some of you are just wondering what happened to Daniel we left him in the pit with the lions and so last week when we last saw our hero leading up to this what we read is that the satraps all of the basically the tax collectors the satraps laid a trap for Daniel they knew that they wouldn't be able to steal money in the kingdom under King various Well as long as Daniel was in charge of them because he was a man of integrity and he was such a great administrator that he would know if people were stealing from him and so they said you know what if we're going to line our pockets if we're going to get rich we have to get rid of Daniel so they came up with this idea that if anyone in the entire kingdom were to worship anyone other than King various For the next thirty days they would be thrown into the pit of lions and can carry a said well this is great this is a great way to get people to be loyal to me and so they agreed now what I want to do is I want to apply Proverbs three five and six to Daniel situation and so here is. Daniel he's told that he cannot worship God for thirty days otherwise he's going to be thrown into a den of lions and so in Daniel's mind think about the things that he had to think about verse six of verse six of problems three five and six says in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths in other words if you acknowledge God He will tell you he will show you what the right decision is and so Daniel is acknowledging God the straight path for Daniel means that he's supposed to continue to live in obedience to God and to continue to pray three times a day with the shutters open facing Jerusalem like King Solomon had asked these are life to do and God bless them for that and so that is the straight path that God showed in Daniel and ironically that straight path for Daniel literally led straight into a den full of lions. And so when Daniel's thinking this is what I'm supposed to do but I know exactly what the outcome is that's where verse five kicks in trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding and so Daniel had to say I know what the outcome is I will be thrown into the den of lions and no matter what happens I'm going to rest on God's wisdom in this situation all that God do what God is going to do. Before we really get into the story we read and I want to I want to have a time of honesty with you OK. I don't like this part of the faith I don't I don't like living by faith in this way because sometimes it's so hard to give up control does anyone anyone here can control problem or you want to be in control of all these situations and so I sort of have a a love hate relationship with this aspect of my faith and I think all of you should be able to relate to this on some level you know. I hate the anxiety of looking at a situation. Saying if I make this decision I don't know what's going to happen I hate that it might be kind of a strong word but I don't like that I want to be comfortable I want to know what the outcome is but at the same time God sometimes asks us to just trust him and let him work out the details that's the love part because like on a roller coaster soon as I get going on the roller coaster Eventually I really like it I'm going to share with you three examples I've probably mentioned all three of these before in my life but I came to a point in my life on three different occasions I'll share with you were I had to make a decision and I had to say God what do you ask me to do in this situation and I made the decision I trusted in the Lord The first was when I was twenty one years old it was during the summer and I had gone to Grace Bible college for two years and I got my SO C.S. degree and I thought well can you go become a firefighter and move to Seattle that's kind of what I wanted to do but ever since junior high I kind of felt God was leading me into ministry and I remember I had this this moment in this crisis where I had a decision to make and I remember making that decision right after I talked to my grandma my grandma Irma in Spokane and from the trip to Spokane to Seattle as I was driving back I made that decision and it was a scary decision I said you know what God I think you are leading me the straight path for you is for me to go into ministry and I have no idea what that's going to do to my life you go you say I'm going to go into ministry Well where are you going to live who are you going to be around I had no idea what that would lead to but I said. I'll do it. And in that moment it was scary but so far it's worked out pretty well that's the first one the second one happened almost right after that I was back in Greece Bible college I was a student and maybe it was probably just a few months after this maybe a year later I remember thinking God was laying on my heart this whole idea about trust God was laying on my heart that I needed to start giving and I need to search. I think from my income as a college student you don't make a lot of money I was a waiter in a restaurant and so I'd make money I'd have cash I'd literally have cash in on lope in a in an envelope in my dorm room and I remember there was this one day where I said you know what I need to make a decision I'm going to trust God to provide for me because I'm going to be a pastor one of these days and I can't ask people to trust God If I'm not able to trust him with this little area of my life and so I look I visually can picture this in my own mind right now looking at all the cash counting it out realizing I had about two hundred fifty dollars that I made from tips and it was my hand kind of shaking and I took out twenty five dollars. This is going to work I'm going to die you know was going to have it and putting it in another although I wasn't able to be at church on Sunday I think we were gone maybe like a soccer trip or something and I gave it to my friend and it is one of those moments where I said I have to do this right now I've made this decision I have to do right now I gave it to him and said I'm not going to be a church can you put in the offering plate for me. And I have ties ever since then and God has given me abundantly more than anything that I've ever needed in this life and so I made that decision and he trusted him the third one deals with all of you. It's when we decided to come here in be moved to Phoenix and take the pastor of this church I remember that spring we had decided that we were going to fix up our house and we wanted to sell it we wanted to get a smaller house and so we were in the process of selling our house and this is in the summer of two thousand and six and in West Michigan the housing market was horrible it was horrible about one or two years before it was horrible here in Phoenix and we had our house already up for sale and the church during that time asked us would you consider coming down here in Canada and so we moved on and we came down here in August and we met everyone in church and when we came home we really thought we're supposed to go this is what we're supposed to do but I kept wanting because I'm a human being I kept. God didn't make the sign really clear you know that you'll know that you're supposed to go of the house sells and the house had already been on the market even before any of this took place and it wasn't selling we weren't getting any calls we had a couple open houses a couple he would come through and then we came to the day where we had to realize we have to make a decision and so Chris and I we thought about this we prayed about this and we said what do we feel God has is calling us to do. And he's calling us to Phoenix. OK We're going to do this our entire worldly wealth was in the equity of our house and it needed to sell and we thought you know what that's God's problem let's make this decision let's do this and see what God does that very Sunday that I announced to the congregation that we were resigning and we're going to take the church down here in Phoenix soon as I was done I went home and we had an open house and literally within two hours of making that announcement the next people that walked through the door they Doxes they knocked on the door they came in and I said Is your house still for sale you know we've been looking at it online we love this house and we want to write an offer. I didn't know that they were going to do this but God did and God made sure that I made that decision first and I did not only in my own understanding and I knowledge in all my ways and he provided. Those are big events in my life those are big things that I can always look back and say God provided for me I did not lean on my own understanding I trusted him he made the past great for me well let's look at Daniel and see what happens with Daniel because this is such a great lesson trusting in the Lord with all your heart do not lean on your own understanding you know God He loves it when we live by faith and we set aside our desire to control everything and I don't think that God leads us to do foolish things I think there's a lot of foolish things done in the name of religion or people say God told me to do this and you know I probably didn't but you really just wanted to do. Anyway but if God asks us to do something that aligns with his word and we can correctly apply it to our lives then we should take that step of faith so let's read and finish our story and what I hope is going to happen is today you will be encouraged and inspired because maybe there's an area of your life where you know God is leading you toward something but you are rationalizing it in your own mining saying I really shouldn't do this because this might go wrong and this might go wrong and I don't have this ready and I don't have this ready and God saying well you just stop trying to lean on your own understanding and just trust me and so maybe God might use this story today to inspire you well let's pick up Daniel Chapter six and we'll go back a little bit just so we can kind of get the context you know let's start in verse fourteen. So Daniel Chapter six beginning in verse fourteen. This is right when the satraps had trapped Daniel and told the king that he they caught him breaking the law. Then the king verse fourteen when he heard these words was much distressed inside his mind to deliver Daniel and he labored told the sun went down to rescue him then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king you know King that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction ordinance that the king establishes can be changed. Then the king commanded in Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions the king declared to Daniel may your god whom you serve continually deliver you and the stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own segment and with the Signet of his lords that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting no diversions were brought to him and sleep fled from him you know this part always confused me especially is if you if you read the story you know what happens to everyone else why didn't the lions attack Daniel immediately you know how is it that they could lower Daniel into. This pit and seal it and then have the signet ring making sure that there's no sealer so they can't get back out as I was reading this one of the commentaries that I read said usually in a situation they had a large two sections that were divided by an iron gate and so that kind of makes sense they lower Daniel into one section the Lions are in the other section they seal it King Dariya says to Daniel may your Lord rescue you I have no idea if he will but I hope that he does they seal it and then at some point in time they lifted the gate and the Lions were free. To keep breeding. Then at daybreak the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions and as he came near to the den where Daniel was he cried out in a tone of anguish the king declared to Daniel Oh Daniel servant of the Living God How does your god whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the Lions. I wonder if Daniel had a sense of humor you know because if he did this would be the perfect time I don't know how long he waited to answer King various But this is what he said verse twenty one then Daniel said to the king old King Live Forever My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouth and they have not harmed me because I was found blameless before him and also before you a king I have done no harm then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded the Daniel be taken up out of the dance so Daniel was taken up out of the den and no kind of harm was found on him because he had trusted in his god. And the king commanded and those men who had maliciously accuse Daniel were brought in and cast into the den of lions they their children and their wives and before they reached the bottom of the den the Lions overpowered them and broke all their bones. You know seems kind of a harsh concert. Doesn't it but this was actually a Persian law and the conspirators anyone who is conspiring against a king or an official or someone like that they knew what the rules the rules are going to be and so what happened is a Persian ruler would not want any family members to remain after they executed another family member they wouldn't want any wives or kids conspiring to kill the king after he executed their family members and so the Kings figured it's easier to just bury more people then to keep your eye open for future potential assassins and everyone knew this and anyone who was conspiring to do something evil should have known this in the service as an example if you do something evil the consequences are not just for you but for your family as well and so they should have known this now there's a there's a proverb that says Proverbs twenty six twenty seven whoever digs a pit will fall into it and the stone will come back on him who starts rolling it and so they got exactly what they deserved verse twenty five. Then King various wrote to all the peoples nations and languages that dwell in all the earth peace be multiplied to you I make a decree that all my royal Dominion people are to tremble in fear before the God of Daniel for he is the Living God enduring forever his kingdom shall never be destroyed and his dominion shall be to the end he delivers in rescues he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth he who has saved Daniel from the power of lions so this Daniel prosper during the reign of various In the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Now with the rest of our time what I want us to talk about is the fact that our God is a deliberate. You know the entire book of the Bible is a story of redemption meaning God had an original plan for us to live in a perfect relationship with him and sin entered. World and the rest of the Bible is an explanation of how God is redeeming in restoring that and in order for us to be redeemed in the resort it means that our God needs to deliver us in times when we can't deliver ourselves and we see this time and time again all throughout the Bible man kind is in a position of weakness and God comes in in his position of power and he delivers us and he does this in a variety of ways and one way that we see here in Daniel Chapter six one way that he can deliver his children is with angels all right with angels we see this a few times in Scripture for those of you who are familiar with the story in Acts Chapter twelve Peter is thrown into prison probably to be executed but in the middle of the night an angel came and delivered him there's other examples from scripture can you put up Psalm thirty four go ahead and you can look at this as I'm reading this some thirty four talks about this. He David says I sought the Lord and He answered me in delivered me from all my fears those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried in the Lord heard him and saved him out of all of this troubles the angel of the Lord in camps around those who fear him and delivers them. You know you read this and this is the subject of angels is such a fascinating subject I've always wanted to be brave enough to preach a sermon series on angels because it's such a fascinating subject but I'm afraid to because it's just so many unknowns with this like for instance have you ever seen an angel there's no way you can say yes you just wouldn't know there's another passage and he wrist thirteen he was thirteen to some of you might be familiar with this do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for there by some have entertained angels unawares so maybe you have seen an angel in your life maybe you haven't it's such an interesting subject but in this case God delivered Daniel. To an angel but back to being God being a deliver in verse twenty King various asked Daniel he said Oh Daniel servant of the Living God has your god whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the Lions this word for deliver this specific Hebrew word for deliveries only of seven times in all of Scripture right there's other ones a very similar ones over you several other times but this specific one is only seven times and all seven times are in the Book of Daniel the first three are in Chapter three during the fiery furnace where God delivered Chadrick me second to Bendigo out of the fire furnace and the other four are all here in chapter six dealing with Daniel being delivered what this teaches us is that our God is a deliver and he has and he will deliver us from the most terrible things that we will ever face in our lifetime and I want to leave you with two things that God has delivered us from and God will deliver us and so I just want as you're going through your life when you're making decisions and you're realizing I have to I have to trust God with this it's good for us to understand the ways in which God has already worked in our on our behalf and so the first thing that we need to have in the back of our mind two ways of God delivers the first way is that God has delivered us from eternal punishment cautions one if you if you have your Bibles open I want you to churn there's a couple passages I want you to look at first one is in cautions chapter one. Beginning in verse twelve. Cautions chapter one beginning in verse twelve. Here is a time that we see this word deliver. In this in this E.S.P. it's translated transfer but it's the same word for deliver cautions one twelve and following it says giving thanks to the Father who is qualified you to share in the inheritance of. The Saints in the light he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins and so this passage teaches us that if you're here today and you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection then what God has already done is he has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you and placed you into this the kingdom of the Son that He loves the kingdom of light and you are forever a child of God And so this is something that has already taken place this is not something that you can do for yourself and if you place your faith in Jesus Christ you came to the decision in your realization that you need to trust God with your salvation this is not something that you can do on your own you have to trust him and so if you've done that then God has already delivered you and transferred you into the kingdom of his beloved Son Well that's dealing with of the future we want deliverance in this life right well God also shows us that in this life he delivers us from a couple different things the first thing it's taught us and first US alone aeons One is that God will if we're still alive the liver us from the wrath to come meaning the Great Tribulation go to first US alone aeons one. First US alone in chapter one. Verse nine and ten. The people in Thessalonica were very concerned that the raptured already taken place in Thessalonians is where Paul teaches us the doctrine of the rapture and that's where God will come and take us away before the tribulation starts here on Earth the seven years that are absolutely horrible and human history and first US alone eons one nine it says for they themselves report concerning us the kinds of reception we had among you and now you turn to God from idols and serve the true the living and true God to wait for his son from have been whom he. We raise from the dead Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. Do you think things are pretty bad on earth right now I think all of us would do it's things are getting bad they're continually getting worse but they'll they're nothing like it will be during the seven years the tribulation but this teaches us that God will deliver us from the raft to come and we won't have to deal with that and not only that some of us are thinking well we have no idea when that's going to happen but I think it's problems in my life all the time the Bible also teaches us that God does from time to time deliver us from some earthly troubles go to second Timothy Chapter four. Second term of the chapter four says Paul talking about God delivering him. Second Timothy Chapter four. Beginning in verse seventeen. Saying Timothy four seventeen says. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed in all the Gentiles might hear it so I was rescued from the lion's mouth and so Paul was rescued in this way and we don't know if an angel was used we have no idea verse eighteen the Lord will rescue me the same word for deliver will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom to him be the glory forever and ever amen and so Paul knew that as long as he was acknowledging God and walking in that straight path that God had laid out for him Paul knew that God would continually deliver him so that he can continue to serve God you know we talk about this how God can deliver us but there are obviously examples in scripture and there are examples in our life where God doesn't deliver people and he doesn't deliver them for a variety of reasons I want you to go to the last passage we're going to look at. Go to Hebrews eleven. Hebrews Chapter eleven this is the great chapter on face and he was Chapter eleven. We read about all these different people that lived by faith and we are inspired by their example and we get down to verse thirty two and the author of Hebrews he's starting to rattle off several more names of people that live by faith and he gets to this point and he says this Hebrews eleven thirty two. And what more shall I say for time would fail me to tell of Gideon Beric Samson Jephthah David and Samuel the prophets who through face conquered kingdoms in force justice obtain promises in these next two are references to Daniel who stopped the mouths of lions who quenched the power of fire who escaped the edge of the sword were made strong out of weakness became mighty and wore put foreign armies to fought flight women to receive back their dead by resurrection and as in the middle of this he stops the author stops and now he starts talking about those that God didn't deliver and why they trusted God anyway so off way through verse thirty five says some more torture refusing to accept release so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment they were stoned they were saw on into they were killed with the sword they went about in skins of sheep and goats destitute afflicted mistreated of whom the world was not worthy wandering about in deserts and mountains and in dens and caves of the earth and all these though commended through their face did not receive what was promised since God had provided something better for us that apart from us they should not be made perfect you know in Daniel's case he was delivered from certain death why.First and foremost so that God would be honored but maybe this is something that we need to consider maybe he delivered in because he wasn't done using Daniel he had more things for him to do and I think that's something that you and I need to realize that God is a deliverer and if you're living your life making sure that you're following the path that God has for you and you're serving him there's nothing that can happen to you that God won't allow and as long as he has more for you to do he will continue to deliver you from anything that comes your way. Our God is a deliver you know this I started off by talking about the three big areas of my life where I saw God deliver and provide for me in a way I knew I couldn't do on my own. And so I ask I just I wonder do you have any stories in your life of how God has delivered you obviously and I'm referring to beyond your sins and the fact that you have the hope of eternal life but if someone were to ask you how do you know God is real how do you know that I can trust God Do you have any stories in your life where you can share with another person I hope you do I hope you can say oh yeah I have I have several I wish I could tell them to you right now but if you don't if you don't why not. If you don't have a story why not and ask you a couple questions and I don't do this to make you feel guilty but to challenge you to live by faith if you don't have any stories is it because you are afraid because you're afraid to live by faith you're free to do anything that goes beyond your understanding or is because you're afraid or do you not have any stories because you're simply you're not paying attention you're not listening you're doing your own saying you're not looking to God to to show you that path or do you not have any stories because you just want to be in control. You know all of those are relatable I can relate to all of those things but I gan you and like all these people in the book of Hebrews and like the entire Bible itself God is wanting us to live by faith and when we live by faith he will deliver us I hope this story from Daniel inspires all of us to do what proverb says to not trust in our own understanding but to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and in face we will pursue anything that God is leading us towards this close in prayer. There Laura down sometimes life is scary. And we sense that you might be leading us to do something in obedience and faith and or we can come up with so many reasons why we should we can see danger and we can see problems if we follow you but Lord I just pray that this this passage the story of Daniel how he looked beyond his own understanding and he realized that you are a god that's big enough to save and deliver him and he trusted you he knew exactly what he was supposed to do and he put his face in you and he trusted you and Lord you delivered him. Lord I thank you for the ways in my own personal life that you have shown me. Now when I follow the path that you lay before me you will deliver you will make sure things happen and Lord I pray that strew for us not only as individuals but also as a church there might come a time where we have to follow it and say well there are several reasons why we shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that but instead Lord you want us to live by faith and not by sight and so Lord help our facing you to be a testimony to the world around us just like Daniels was to us and if there's anyone here today struggling with something they know that you are calling them to do Lord use this as an example to inspire them to not trust in their own mind in their own intellect but to trust in you Lord continue to deliver us as long as we can be used and serve you we present Christ Amen and now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all a myth.
Preacher: Josh WhiteYou know with babies you get babies up on stage and it's kind of an adventure well you know in the first service we had Elliot being dedicated in the second service I'll tell you some of the other kids that are going to be dedicated. To. Kids are sick go figure you know and it's always going to happen that way but Desmond. Lehmann he is in A.J. Skelly those are two kids and I made and let me start with this I made a observation as I was looking at all these kids this is kind of odd it's been a while since we've had this but we had no firstborns being dedicated today it's been a while since that has happened so Elliot is a second born Desmond is a second born A.G. was a force born. Judy White in second service over here he's a second born Savannah O'Donoghue is a second born Joseph Kincaid is like a seventeenth born or something like that the king caves fifty born right and then Nora Nora Bennett is the third born and we all know that third born children are the best children that's just scientifically proven some science somewhere has proven that and you know I look at these parents and the good news is all of them they knew exactly what they were getting into if this was not their first child and yet they went ahead and they did it again you know they knew about the dirty diapers they know about the sleepless nights they know that at some point these kids and I think none of the kids none of the parents I have kids that are old enough for this but there's going to be some SAS talking bad mouth thing against the parents don't tell me what to do or maybe some of the parents already know that right now there's going to be called wishing to pay for there's going to be weddings to pay for and they did it anyway and they did it because they have so much love that they want to share with another person and so they bring these children into this world and they know it takes a lot of commitment but it's worth it you know what today being Mother's Day I think we can forever be grateful for the commitment that her mother she showed us and. So if you're here today and your mother is still alive and she was a good mother I know not everyone is honored and blessed to have a good mother but if you have a good mother and she's still alive and encourage you if you haven't already done so to let her know how much you love and appreciate the example that she set for you well just like being committed to raising kids is worth it being committed to God is worth it it's worth it in this life and also the life to come that's worth it in this life because when we're committed to God and I think if you if you place your faith in Jesus Christ you know how this is true if you're committed to God in this life you will have a peace that nothing else nor the commitment in this life can give you and if you have a commitment to God You're going to have a sense of purpose that no other commitment in this life can give you and so we have that benefit in this life but also obviously in the life to come when we will be rewarded for faithfulness and commitment. You know here at church a couple weeks ago we had our congregational meeting and we voted to bring on some additional staff members hopefully all of you are aware of that and so we have this last Thursday we had the first ever staff meeting at Grace Bible Church of Phoenix and I was really excited about this I'm the only full time person here and we have several some part time people so we had Steve McFadden as the worship leader Sarah Kincaid as the children's ministry director Angie gray as the church business correlator my commute Fadden is moved from the youth pastor position into the the family life pastor and Zach short has moved into the youth leader position and so all of us are sitting there and it was so fun for me I think we have great staff and the first thing that we did is we focused on the reason why we exist I'm not going to have you actually say this or raise your hand but how many of you can say in one sentence the reason why church of Phoenix exists if you need any help it's painted right on that wall is you walk in it's our mission statement we exist. To develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching and encouraging of God's word and we intentionally chose that word committed because if you're a follower of Jesus Christ it's more than just saying yes I believe that he died and then he rose again it takes a firm commitment and the nice thing is through the teaching and encouragement of God's Word sometimes we get great examples of that commitment when children are Bible so Daniel Chapter six. Daniel Chapter six we are moving through the Book of Daniel and we are in what is probably one of the most if not the most famous story in The Book of Daniel. That if someone were if you were to ask somebody you know what is the Book of Daniel what is in the Book of Daniel they'd probably say one of two stories and pick this out this would be one of them the fiery furnace in chapter three is probably the other one but this is Daniel in the Lion's Den I'm not going to do an entire recap of the entire Book of Daniel Hopefully you've been here for most of these and if not you can always listen to those on line but here in Daniel Chapter six we get what is most most likely the most well known story in Daniel and in this chapter we see Daniel's commitment to God Last week we saw a bad example an example of what not to do and not to follow through Belshazzar and this week we get to see a great example of how to live and Daniel shows us how to live based on commitment and so what I'm going to do through this incredible story we're going to look at two ways that Daniel reveals his commitment to God We know he's committed because of these two things and the first thing is this first way we know that Dana is committed to God is through his integrity. It's through his integrity that we see that he was committed let's go ahead and read Daniel Chapter six and I'll just start off in verse one I'm reading from the E.S.P.N. Oh Last week I think I read from the the Living by a what I'm going back to the city. Again a Chapter six verse. One. Pleased Various to start over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps to be throughout the whole kingdom and over them three high officials of whom Daniel was one to whom these Satcher aps should give account so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials in satraps because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom so that we're kind of seen this repeated over and over in Daniel's life at this point he's probably in his early to mid eighty's Daniel come to distinguish himself when he was a late teenager but see Daniel his integrity is seen throughout his whole life time for. Then the high officials and satraps ought to find grounds for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom but they could find no grounds for complaint or any fault because he was face full and no error or fault was found in them then these men said. We shall find we shall not find any grounds for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his god. And what a great testimony for Daniel his integrity was obvious to everyone and so I was reading this it talks about all these satraps hundred twenty satraps. Let me tell you what a job description of a satrap was I don't know everything that they did but their primary job was to collect taxes OK So they were to collect the taxes and they were to give it to King barriers now what do you think someone who is crooked and does not have integrity wants to do when they collect taxes want to put a little bit of the in their own pocket right and so if you are a crooked satrap I don't think that phrase has ever been set in motion in the entire history of the life of mankind but if you are cooking and you're getting all this money and you want to put some in your own pockets and there is a man of integrity over you what's going to happen. He's going to find your dishonesty and he's not going to let you get away with it and so the satrap said well we have to get rid of him because we're not able to graft from the taxes and keep it for ourselves as long as he is over us. So you see the problem that the satraps had Daniel would not allow them to be dishonest so King various you know Daniel had integrity because no matter who his boss was he ultimately served God you notice as you go through the Book of Daniel there are different men in positions of authority over Daniel and there's one thing that never change and that is in Daniel's mind who he was ultimately serving. That's a kind of an example that I think all of us are supposed to have for ourselves there's a passage in the New Testament cautions three twenty three and twenty four somebody might be familiar with this but it says whatever you do work hardly As for the Lord and not for men knowing this from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward you are serving the Lord Christ and so this is what it means to have integrity no matter who is your boss who is your employer no matter what government officials or over you we all know a person of integrity is someone who says I'm serving the Lord and so in every area of my life I want to have that integrity were my actions and my face are in perfect alignment and we see this with Daniel all throughout his entire life and the satraps knew this and so that's exactly how they wanted to trap him and to get rid of him. Well. Well I think we're supposed to do with every passage of Scripture in every story I think we're supposed to look at this and maybe make some personal application. So I ask you. Can people see your commitment to God through your integrity is there any area in your life where you're you're tempted to make some short cuts thinking no one will ever know I think all of us deal with that from time to time but this is one way. That we can reveal to the world around us that we are serving the Lord and through our integrity just like Daniel's example to us also move on to point number two. The second way Daniel reveals his commitment to God is through his habits. Through his habits and this is slightly different than the first point integrity is in some way it's the way that we respond to situations we respond to temptation How that are the actions that Daniel filled in to his life so that he would remain faithful while it's read about the one specific outburst six. So this is the way that the trying to trap Daniel and they knew it was based on this how they were six and these high officials in Sach ups came by agreement to the king and said to him oh king various live forever all the high officials of the kingdom and the prefects and the satraps and the councillors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction that whoever makes petition to any God or man for thirty days except to you a king shall be cast into the den of lions now do you see that they're lying here and he says that they all came to him and they were all in agreement Well guess who wasn't there Daniel wasn't there or do you wouldn't agree to anything like this but they lied verse a now looking establish the injunction and sign the document so that it cannot be changed according to the laws of the Medes in the Persians which cannot be revoked therefore King Dariya signed the document and then junction This is similar to a King Nebuchadnezzar he never can as are made in China and Chapter three when he had Everybody bowed down to the stature that he arrested this is a way of kind of making sure people are loyal to you and so there's a new administration here and King Barry says thinking well this is a good idea it will make sure everyone who served under Belshazzar and have a can as Or now that I'm in charge of the kingdom they'll be loyal and honest to me first then. When Daniel knew that the document. Been signed he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open towards Jerusalem. And he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks be for his God as he had done previously another words this was a habit that Daniel had established and they knew exactly how they were going to trap him and this is exactly what they did verse eleven. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plead before his God then they came near and said before the King concerning the injunction. Did you not sign an injunction that anyone who makes petition to you to any God or man within thirty days except to your king shall be cast into the lion's den the King answered and said this thing stands fast according to the law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be revealed. Then they answered and said before the king Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah pays no attention to your king or the injunction you have signed but makes his petition three times a day. And as we keep reading you can tell the Dariya says a little upset they tricked him and you read this story and I think all of us are thinking OK if Daniel knew that this was now the law and he did this three times a day the obvious question that we should ask is why didn't he just close the blinds why didn't he just continue to do what he was doing and just do it in the privacy of his own home why did he do this he knew he was going to get caught and so we might not know every reason why Daniel continued to do this knowing that he was going to get caught I think a couple of reasons that he did this was number one maybe he wasn't afraid to die. Maybe he was thinking you know what I'm in my mid eighty's now and I don't want to be in charge of one hundred twenty people that's fine take me Lord or maybe he thought the Lord. The Lord can deliver him there's two parts of the story that we don't know about unless we go back to other parts of scripture and I want to give them to you right now because I think that they are very important the first thing the first reason I think why Daniel continue with this habit is because he knew through the prophet Jeremiah that the exile was almost over it was almost over look at Chapter nine verse one Daniel Chapter nine first one. And so this is a very short and close proximity to what is happening here in Daniel Chapter six but in Daniel nine one it says in the first year of various The son of. Every pronounce that by descendant of Mead who was made king over the realm of the Caledonians in the first year of his reign I gain a perceived in the Book of Numbers a book of the number of years that according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet must past before the end of desolation of Jerusalem namely seventy years and so if we do the math and I think this is going to be close at this time in Daniel's life he was probably eighty three eighty four years old roughly and he probably came over as a teenager sixteen seventeen years old so this is like year sixty six sixty seven sixty eight and so this is just within a couple of years of them being able to return to Jerusalem and so why would he stop now if he's this close and he truly believes that God is going to do this why would he stop just because this thirty day injunction had been placed on there. There's another reason why Daniel continued to do this and you have to ask the question why was the opening the windows and why was the praying towards your son what does that have to do with anything is there or is there a precedent set for that actually there is and I want you to turn over to first kings to read about it first Kings Chapter eight. I think this is good this is maybe a passive some of you never read before and I think this is good because it really adds to what is happening here Daniel Chapter six. First Kings Chapter eight beginning in verse twenty seven. And what we're reading about is the dedication of the temple this is right after Solomon King Solomon had built a temple and this is a prayer at the dedication for the Temple and this is what. King Solomon is praying for the descendants of Israel moving forward first Kings Chapter eight beginning in verse twenty seven. King Solomon says. But we will God indeed dwell on the earth behold heaven in the highest heaven cannot contain you how much less this house that I have built yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his PLEASE OH LORD my God listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house the place which you have say said my name shall be there that you may listen to the prayer Listen to this that your servant offers towards this place and listen to the plea of your servant and of your people of Israel when they pray toward this place and listen in heaven your dwelling place and when you hear forgive so that Solomon is saying the Lord when people in Israel believe in you and they look towards the temple and they pray towards this place hear their prayer and so this is something that all the Israelites and all the descendants they know about the sacredness of the temple and so their plane towards the temple and this is something that Daniel took very seriously in the build this is a habit into his life there is another section in verses thirty and thirty nine to say the same thing but I want to go to the third place were King Solomon praised this and asked for this go to the first forty six. In verse forty six this is specifically dealing with Daniel situation and so I think this section of King Solomon's prayer is really at the forefront of Daniel's mind in why he continued to pray towards Jerusalem verse forty six. King Solomon continues. And he says if they sin against you for there is no one who does not sin and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy so that they are carried away captive to the land of their enemy far off or near it if they turn their heart in the land to which you have been carried captive and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors saying we have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who carried them captive and prayed to you toward their land which you gave to their fathers the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name then here in heaven your dwelling place their prayer employee and maintain their cause and so here is gan you living in exile and these reverses are these this dedication ceremony from King Solomon is probably near and dear to his heart and so this was a big deal to Daniel that he would pray three times every day towards Jerusalem believing that God was going to hear him and so if he had been doing this and establish this daily habit for years and years and probably decades why would he stop then. If he were to stop that would be an act of cowardice and unbelief in God but he believed that God would hear him and he believed that God would answer his prayers and so he built this house that into his life. You know what kind of habits have you built into your life you know our habits really show us what our commitments are I think we all realize that right some of you may have built into your life some dietary habits right you know make sure you eat the right kinds of food if you some of you built in your life some financial habits whether that's giving or investing and all of us realize that we build into our lives bad habits that's what New Year's resolutions are for right now to get rid of the bad habits Well this is what happened Daniel reveals his commitment through his integrity and through his habits. And this is what happens verse fourteen. Then the King when he heard these words was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel and he labor till the sun went down to rescue him then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king now old King that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction ordinance of the king establishes can be changed then the king commanded and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions the king declared to Daniel may your god whom you serve continually deliver you and a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own Signet and with the signature of his lords that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting no diversions were brought to him and sleep fled from him. And we're going to stop right there and you'll have to wait till next week to find out what happens no reading ahead you can you know you know as I was reading this I realized that we were not going to have enough time to really go through the entire story and so what I wanted to do is today to break this up really into two sermons today I just wanted us to be very aware of Daniel's complete devotion and commitment to God no matter what what the outcome is next week you can go ahead and you can read you probably already know what happened but next week we're going to see how God responds to Daniel's commitment that's what we're going to study next week but for today I want us to be encouraged by Daniel's commitment because this is one of those stories where we read it and this is a commitment unlike most other people ever demonstrate in this lifetime Daniel chose to live his life to bring on or to God and so should we now I think an appropriate verse for us today is found in second Corinthians five twenty. Five twenty it says Therefore we are ambassadors. For Christ God making his appeal through us. God bore witness to himself in the Old Testament through the prophets and through man like Daniel and his commitment and guess how God is doing that today he's doing that through you God bears witness to himself through your commitment. And so you can think of me in your mind right now maybe some coworkers some friends and family members you might be the only witness they have of who the true God is and so I ask you today to seriously consider how obviously your commitment is to God and if there's anything in your life that is showing the opposite of a commitment to God It might take you to stand before God and say God help me to remove this from my life and the other side of that is if there's anything you realize that you should be doing to further your commitment to God then I hope you will deepen your faith in him and you will make it a habit that God can use well so close in prayer and ask that God will truly inspire us with this demonstration by day their Lord and we just come before you this morning now as we've looked at the first half of the story. Some of us obviously know what's happened at the end of the story but Lord the first half were kind of where Daniel was in his mind not knowing for sure what's going to happen. But no matter what happened Daniel was not going to fall back on his commitment to you and we see that today and we thank you for the testimony of Daniel and Lord I just pray that we're all here today will desire to not only just place our face Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior but to make our commitment to Him Our top priority that we will be committed to him like Daniel was in our integrity the no matter what relationship we have in this life no matter who are our boss or supervisor is or those in authority over us that we will ultimately seek to serve you first and foremost and that's your habits. As well Lord that people see through the way that we live our lives on a daily basis that we are committed to above but everyone and everything else lord my Also we also pray this morning for the mothers that are here today I just pray that they will truly feel honored and appreciated for all the hard work and the commitment that they showed towards us as their children but now Lord as we leave this place in has some people go to the Sunday school classes or to just continue to continue to pray that you will help us as our mission statement says to be committed followers of Jesus Christ and we thank you so much for your work that gives us this encourage me today were present crisis Amen and now me the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all amen.
Preacher: Josh WhiteYou saw Nathan George up there it had the a caption on there the boy that's been there all three of our clubs Nathan George he's not in this service he's going to be probably in the second service but he is the first one that went through the two years of Cubbies the three years of Sparky's in the four year of T.N.T. So we've finally been having a lot of that long that one child has gone through every single year that we have and I want to program he was the first and there's a lot more in the way that I'll go through all nine years are pretty excited about that but I want is a great ministry and it's really need to see these kids really grow in their understanding of God and the Bible especially it's really fun as a leader yes the kids hey where in the Bible does it say you can ask a question and you can see the wheels turning and they can kind of at least paraphrase of verse you know God says Hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you it is so true that when these little kids they put their Gods word into their mind it stays with them for the rest of their lives so it's a wonderful ministry Well back in February we started a new series on four young men Daniel him in Iowa Michelle and Azariah I'm pretty sure they didn't have a one out back then during their day but I think their parents must have done a really good job raising them because we can read in the Book of Daniel about how they have been firmly established in God and how they continue to live for him throughout their lives and so I want you to open your Bibles to the Book of Daniel. And we had a month of March in most of April when we didn't look at the Book of Daniel because we had man months and then we also had Palm Sunday in Easter Sunday but we're getting back to Daniel there's a few more of these chapters that we're going to look at we're not to look at the entire Book of Daniel but what I don't want to do is because it's been so long I want to kind of recap what we've looked at in the Book of Daniel in the first chapter we have kinetic in as are he besieged Jerusalem and he brought all the noble the. To really prestigious the powerful young men of Israel and he brought them many he had them in captivity in Babylon and so this is the first time we see these four young men and what Daniel was trying to do or what King never can as a risk trying to do to these young men is change who they are change their identity change their culture and change their gods and in the first chapter we see that they refused to compromise and then we go on to Daniel Chapter two and King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream because remember that dream a dream of an a giant statue and ultimately this was God's way of revealing to Daniel and also to all of us can never measure that God was in control of all the ages of human history and that he was the one who would establish certain kingdoms at different times during human history and so we read about that they got a sovereign and because Daniel was the one who was able to interpret the dream and not only interpreted your memory working them a composer had all the magicians do he had them tell him what his dream was and interpret it and none of them could do it but only Daniel and so God on her Daniel because of that and then we look to do it Daniel Chapter three several weeks ago and what happened is after in Daniel Chapter two he never can has or had this dream of a giant statue So what does he do in chapter three he builds a giant statue and then he asks everyone in the kingdom to Val before the statue and hand and I am Michelle and they were the only three who remained faithful and they did not valid before this statute well because they never can as or threaten to throw everyone in a fiery furnace if they didn't he threw these for these three young men into the furnace and for those of you who remember the story we're here to hear about it there was a fourth person who appeared in the fiery furnace and this is probably a Christofferson meaning that the pre-incarnate Christ came in and rescued them from the fiery furnace and King Nebuchadnezzar saw this and he praised the God of her. And I am Michelle and I was Are I've noticed I'm using their their Jewish names not their Babylonian names I kind of to pay honor to them and he praises the God of these three young men and so you would think that King Nebuchadnezzar after he has seen that God's hand is on Daniel and these three young men God protected them that he would eventually turn and acknowledge that God is the God of the universe and the Creator of All Things and it appears as if he did for a little while after Daniel Chapter three but then we come to Daniel chapter four and we're going to read this story today we're going to read the entire chapter you see it's kind of a long story but it does go fast and it does kind of capture your attention now before you read Daniel Chapter four I think it's important to know some of the scholars that I read in my studies of this chapter say that Daniel Chapter four probably happened a good twenty or thirty years after Daniel Chapter three so we have the story of the fiery furnace and two or three decades have gone by and scholars also believe that this is a time when never can as or went through an extensive building projects and so in Babylon he was building it up making a very big and glorious and he also was fighting lots of different territories and enemies and so he was really for twenty or thirty years expanding his kingdom and what do you do when you get to the end of expanding your kingdom and building projects don't you want to kind of rest and relax a little bit and kind of look at what you've done and say hey I did I've done good right well that's what King Nebuchadnezzar is doing you know you guys like to do that I do if you have a project for a day the backyard is a mess or you have to clean up the garage clean it out and then you look at that and you think oh what a great sense of accomplishment right for those of you who had yards growing up up north you know not in the first zone of I remember when the yard looked horrible I grew up there and I'd mowed the lawn and. Yes Remember that's like and then you look at all the the wheel tracks in the grass and it's all uniform it looks great you're like I hope the entire neighborhood walks by my yard right now it looks really good and you have that sense of accomplishment so you get that after like spending a day of hard work or how about years and years of hard work for those of you who are empty nesters Is there a sense of accomplishment with that some of your life yes some we really don't know whether you want to be an empty nester or not I'm not looking forward to that yet I'm sure some day I will be but Daniel Chapter four is it's an interesting chapter because this is actually it's autobiographical meaning King Nebuchadnezzar wrote this himself and it's a story about the evils of pride and the importance of humility and also a story of something else that I think I'm going to emphasize at the very end so let's go ahead and read Daniel Chapter four. Verse one. KING Never commands or tall people's nations in languages that dwell in all the earth peace be multiplied to you. It is seem good to me to show the signs and wonders at the most high God has done to me how greater is Signs how my ideas wonders His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion endures from generation to generation. I never can has or was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace but what a great sentence what a great verse can you just kind of picture that he's just kind of relaxing in I don't know what it was like for them to do that back then they didn't have any seventy inch screen L E V T V's in mean how that but whatever the reason doing it was enjoying it was prospering in his palace first five I saw a dream that made me afraid as I lay in bed the fancies in the visions of my head alarmed me so I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me that they make known to me the interpretation of the dream in the magicians the enchanters. DNS and the astrologers came in and I told them the dream but they could not make known to me its interpretation now did you notice this is the second dream that Connecticut has or has and he's handling things a little bit differently this time the first time he had them tell him the dream any interpretation this time he's only asking for the interpretation I think after ruling in Babylon for twenty thirty or forty years he's a little more secure in his position the first time he wasn't sure who he could trust or see. At last Daniel came in before me he who was named Delta shadows are after the name of my God and whom is the spirit of the holy gods and I told him the dream saying oh Belshazzar chief of The Magicians because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you tell me the visions of my dream that I mean that I saw in their interpretation the visions of my head as I lay in bed were these I saw and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great the tree grew and became strong and its top reached the heaven and it was visible to the end of the whole earth its leaves are beautiful and its fruit abundant and in it was food for all the beasts of the field found shade under it in the birds of they haven't lived in its branches and all the flesh was Fred was fed from it I saw in the vision in my head as I lay in bed and behold a watch or a holy one came down from heaven he proclaimed aloud and said thus chop down the tree and lop off its branches strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit less the beast flee from under it and the birds from its branches but leave the stump of its roots in the earth bound with the band of iron and bronze amid the tender grass of the field let him be wet with the dew of haven't let us portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth let his mind be changed from a man's and let a beast. Mind be given to him and let seven periods of time pass over him the sentences by the decree of the watchers the decision by the word of the holy ones to the end that the living may know that the most high rules the kingdoms of men and gives it to whomever he will and sets over it the lowliest of men this dream I can never has or saw and you a bell to shows or tell me the interpretation because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation but you are able for the spirit of the holy gods' is in you I want to stop just for a moment here and I want you to understand that by this time King Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel probably had a good relationship they have known each other for probably thirty to forty years at this point this is at the very end of King never can as reign and you have to wonder why didn't he just go to Daniel to begin with you know we know that he interpreted the dream back again as chapter two but I'm sure throughout those thirty or forty years that they knew each other he saw the wisdom that God had given to Daniel so why didn't he go to him at first I don't really have an answer for that but it's interesting that this happened where as it says in verse four when he was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace I think this is a step ahead a lesson that most people can learn one of the times that we are most susceptible to danger or Cannick attack is when things are going really good. When things are just perfect in our life and we think there is no problems here. Let's keep reading first one thousand. Then Daniel whose name was or was dismayed for a while and his thoughts alarmed him the King answered and said Let not the dream nor the interpretation alarm you about the showers are answered and said My lord me the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies the tree you saw which grew became strong some of its top reached to heaven. And it was visible to the end of the whole earth whose leaves are beautiful and its fruit abundant and in which was food for all and under which the beasts of the field found shade in whose branches the birds of the heaven lived it is you. Who have grown to become strong your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven and your dimming into the ends of the earth and because the king saw a watcher a holy one coming down from heaven and saying chop down the tree and destroy it but leave the stump of its roots in the earth down with the band of fire and bronze in the tender grass of the field and let him be wet with dew of heaven and let us portion be with the beasts of the field tell seven periods of time Passover this is the interpretational King it is a decree of the most high which is come upon my lord the king that you shall be driven from among men and your job Welling shall be with the beasts of the field you shall be made to eat grass like an ox and you shall be what was the dew of heaven and seven periods of time shall pass over you and listen to this this is the important part. And tell you know that the most high rules of the kingdom of man and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that heaven rules and so when this story we realize that God has been watching King Nebuchadnezzar and it's time to teach him a lesson the first stream in Chapter two was all about his reign how he was going to be the mightiest of the statue and guess what it was fulfilled and after that you would think it can never again as I would say wait a second this dream was given to me from God And so I need to give all glory and honor to God because the fulfillment of the stream and stand what never can it did was he took the glory for himself and if we know anything about God God repeatedly tells us that he is a jealous god. And he will not share his glory with anyone else and he opposes the proud and so Daniel sees what's going on in Daniel maybe in hopes that he could get some sense in the King Nebuchadnezzar says this to twenty seven. Therefore Okene let my counsel be acceptable to you break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity. You know something I didn't even consider but I was as I was studying this one of the commentary said there is most likely that King Nebuchadnezzar sort of like Pharaoh when building Egypt he probably took an energy of the poor and the oppressed in his kingdom and used them took advantage of them for his building projects and things like that and so now Daniel is saying you have you have forsaken your responsibility to provide for the poor and the oppressed now wake up and help them be merciful to them Well the problem is. He doesn't pay attention this morning and this is what happens verse twenty eight. All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar and of the twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace Babylon and the King answered and said Listen to how he says this is not this great Babylon which I have built I buy. My mighty power as a royal residence in for the glory of my majesty and as the year passes apparently he forgets and he didn't realize it the first dream came true bar the second one true it will probably come true as well verse thirty one says and while the words were still in the King's miles there fell a voice from heaven. Never can has or to you it is spoken the kingdom has departed from you and you shall be driven from among men and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox. And seven periods of time shall pass over you and so you know that the most high rules the kingdom of men and gives us to whom we will immediately the word was fulfilled against now became as Or he has driven from among men in a grass like an ox and his body was wet with the dew of heaven tell us hair grew as long as ears Eagles thousand years and his nails were like birds cause. When I was a kid after I read or heard this description of King Nebuchadnezzar and here's a great picture of that that's actually a real picture. He looks like a mess doesn't he I remember reading this and this gave me nightmares as a kid I read the story and probably heard it in a want to you know about he never can answer and I just had this this horrible image of what he looks like now between verses thirty three and thirty four there are seventy years that a lapse in Daniel chapter four and as a person that likes details I'm very frustrated because we are given any details about the seven years and there are certain things that I really want to know like for instance what did the people of Babylon think when he never can as it was in this position you know I did I never even considered this but one of the commentary said it's very likely that Kenya can measure really never had daily interaction with the people in His Kingdom today national leaders in America around the world they're on television they're there they're tweeting out their decrees but back then a king could just kind of be insulated from the people in his kingdom and he could have his nobles and they could go out and they can carry out as he Dixon is all the things that he wanted to do so it's very possible that no one in his kingdom knew what was going on with King Nebuchadnezzar But I want to know what happened to him Where did he go and who manage his kingdom were as there were other people battling to take over the throne we don't know any of these details maybe Daniel manage the kingdom we don't know but do you remember what God. It needed to happen before he never could as your sanity was restored it was in verses twenty five and twenty six. God says to him seven periods of time shall pass over you until you know. That the most high rules the kingdom of men gives us to whom we will and as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree your kingdom shall be confirmed for for you in other words will be given back from the time that you know that heaven rules and so this is exactly what happened let's finish the story verse thirty four. At the end of the days I never can as are lifted my eyes to heaven. And my reason returned to me and I bless the most high and praised and honored him who lives forever for his dominion is an everlasting dominion and this kingdom endures from generation to generation all the inhabitants of the earth or account of his nothing and he does according to His will among the hosts of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth and none can say to his hand or say to him What have you done at the same time my reason returned to me and for the glory of my kingdom My Majesty and splendor returned to me my counsellors and my lord sought me out and I was established in my kingdom and still more greatness was added to me now I never can as your praise and extol and on are the King of Heaven for all His works are right and His ways are just and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. King Nebuchadnezzar went out the right way his life ended well in fact you know this is the last we hear about King Nebuchadnezzar one of the greatest youth that has ever walked on the face of the earth and all we have is the angles chapter one two and three and four and that's it again or Chapter five we are dealing with the new king but you know what the passages like this you read a story like this and what we're supposed to do whether you're a preacher or. Bible suit you read a story and you say OK what how my schools to apply this to my life what am I supposed to learn from this story and the most obvious one what would be to not be proud right the humility is a very important quality that God wants us to have and obviously we can take take that to heart but as I spent time reading this and I was thinking about the story and you know how how should we interpret this and how should we apply this to our life there's another thing that came to my mind and so I want to share that with you right now as we kind of close this some this message this Daniel Chapter four as we're reading through again in chapter four I'm just wondering how many of you were rooting. For King Nebuchadnezzar to be knocked off his throne how many of you want him to be wanted him to be home I mean in your heart in your mind you're like God given what he deserves it who does he think he is Why is it that we always see a person in a high position and we want them to be brought low we want you know the underdog we're always rooting for the underdog but we want to the guys atop the giant to be to be knocked down. Do you see in this story as I have seen that King Nebuchadnezzar as proud as he was God never gave up on him and God loved King Nebuchadnezzar and that's part of what this chapter is about King never can is a wrote that because of the discipline of God It led to him having an acceptance of God's sovereignty in His goodness and I think this shows us what our attitude should be like towards the proud you know someone in your life that is proud and arrogant you might say I want God to smite him you know those in preparatory prayers and we pray for our enemies but instead maybe we should view this from the standpoint God Love King Nebuchadnezzar and he wanted to show him mercy and so that's maybe the attitude that we should have sometimes towards those who are proud I have to. There are passages I want to read for you I want you to look at these with me are the first isn't First Timothy Chapter two. First Timothy Chapter two. And here the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy and all of us how should we respond or how we should respond to those in authority over us in the first some of the two beginning in verse one just a few verses here. It says first of all then I urge that supplications prayers intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions now we may lead a peaceful and quiet life godly and dignified in every way and look at verse three this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth this is what God wants His desire is not to humiliate the proud he is wanting them to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth and so what did God want King Nebuchadnezzar to know he tells us the exact same thing he wants them to know the truth says in verse twenty five your kingdom shall be confirmed back to you from the time that you know that they have been rules and this is a very unusual way for God to teach someone this lesson to strip him of his fantasy sometimes how many of you feel like you've just gone insane usually that's mothers of infants you know they feel like they've gone insane but some of us who you know this is quite a drastic approach that he took but not only did God use this discipline on King Nebuchadnezzar but we can look in the Bible and see other times when God did this is well that he will bring someone low so that they will have this understanding of God's goodness in His mercy I want to read one other passage and this is a Romans eleven. Over in your Bible so Romans eleven and this is dealing with the pride in the arrogance of the Nation of Israel and how God had temporarily set them aside to make them jealous so that they might know the truth of God's image. In Romans Chapter eleven this is talking about the selection principle of God and he's speaking first the possible speaking first to Gentiles and he says this about their relationship with the Jews Romans eleven verse thirty. Romans eleven verse thirty it says For just as you Gentiles were one time disobedient to God but now I have received mercy because of their disobedience so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy for God is consigned all to disobedience that he may have mercy on all of the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways for you know the mind of the Lord who has been his counselor or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid for from him and through him and to him are all things to him be glory forever amen God knows how to get our attention and the story here in Daniel Chapter four is obviously a lesson about the dangers of pride but even more than that we can read this and understand that this is a story about how much God loved King Nebuchadnezzar and he didn't give up on him. And if you're here today and you're wondering Does God give up on me will he ever give up on me if he was this gracious and kind to do what he needed to do to get King Nebuchadnezzar to realize who God was he will sometimes do that to all of us as well sometimes he needs to humble us so that we will know the mercy in the love of God. You know some of you are sitting here today and you might be thinking I know a few people in my life that are very proud and I wish God would do this for them if you're thinking that you don't have to raise your hand we know that you're also a king that I think all of us. From time to time but maybe what we should do instead as we look at this passage here is we should make our prayer in alignment with what we see here taking place in Daniel and then also especially in First Timothy Chapter two that we will have the heart of God that our desire for others is to not see them disciplined and humiliated but that our heart will be that we want other people to come to a knowledge of the truth so that they might be saved. I know it's hard to live in a world where we see injustice because we see it every single day it's very frustrating but when we have the heart of God and we want other people to understand God's goodness and mercy I think we are right we're God wants us to be and so let's make that our prayer and let's let's close in Perth right now the father is a church we come before you and we are living in a world full of lost people and so Father our prayer this morning is that you might use us if it is your will to show people your grace and your mercy so that they might know you. If anyone's here Lord is wrestling with pride I pray that you might humble us so that we can practice in know your truth or that's a dangerous prayer but I know sometimes our pride really puts us in opposition to you and we can't learn those lessons and be the person that you want us to be well Lord I thank you so much that you've given us this chapter here again a chapter four and all the lessons that we can learn from it but Lord we realize that you loved King Nebuchadnezzar and we thank you for your love for him and more importantly we thank you for your love for us thank you for using all the means at your disposal to get our attention off our self and onto you where they rightfully deserve to be and so now Lord I pray that we as a people that we as a church that we will have your desire be our desire that we will do anything in our power to share with others the truth of your grace and your mercy and we make that our Perth this morning in Christ and we pray the men. And now May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all the men.
Preacher: Josh WhiteYes but I am officially now a Saturday sports parent. That's how I spend my Saturdays now watching my kids' T.V. remember those days I. Couldn't play sports there I was going to say I was for a long time ago for you anyway but so are you this is our Saturdays look we we come early Saturday morning make sure all the kids are awake and we take Jackie to her soccer game and then we cheer and cheer and say Hey when your kids and we come home we wait for a little bit and then we take K. to his basketball game and then we come home because we've been so stressed out all morning long we take it now no not really but we probably sometimes should but you know I realize you know I grew up playing sports and I don't know what's more stressful playing the sports or being the parent that watches the kids play the sports because all morning long we're cheering and shouting and we're we're it's like we're involved in the game like all morning long when Jack is out there playing we're saying no don't kick it down we kick it over here and run back go forward kick shoot the ball and and eventually hopefully one of the kids in soccer because it doesn't happen very often but one of them will make a goal and then what do all the parents do. It's like you just you know won the lottery you know one of the kids finally kicked the ball into the goal and I think the one who's the most excited obviously the kid who made a goal he usually has this look on his face like I can't believe I went in there but we're all excited foreman and then we go watch Kyle play there's a lot more scoring so that's I guess one benefit of basketball but we're like I don't pass a ball and play defense get your arms up and and I literally have to say Christian calm down no I'm serious I calm down they have a coach they don't need a second coach on the bench Christian kind of gets into it so it's kind of fun but you know we in many areas of our life we have an emotional investment in what's happening and so in a way we sort of participate with it right and I think you know that's true of most things in life that we're involved. And we are invested in there's many different types of investment that we make in life sometimes we make an emotional investment into someone or to something sometimes we make the relational investment sometimes you make a financial investment into something and sometimes we even make a spiritual investment into different things and and if you're invested in something you can expect to participate in the highs and the lows and the good and the bad of those things here's a couple examples you know talked about my kids their sports teams and and as a parent I hate to even admit this but frankly I don't care too much of their team wins or loses I just want my kid to do well right but how many of you might have a sports team that you root for and you are so passionate about this team that whether they win or lose they will upset or make your entire day or weekend some of your yeah yeah a couple of you have that and I have a couple teams and I'm not as bad as they used to be but if you know my team wins and I'm happy and if they lose I just you know what's the point of life you know you're just not even go on living or how about how about this some of you and I don't want you to raise your hand but i'm some of you are probably invested in the stock market you have money in stocks right and over the last few months if you've been paying attention you have noticed what has been going on in the stock market somebody will labeled it the Trump rally and I have no idea if it is in your dollar Trump but you know how much the stock market is up over the last four or five months some of you know very well because you're invested in it it's over two thousand points up ten percent and so if you log on and you look at your investments you're going to experience the growth of the stock market and fortunately when it goes down eventually you know you're an experience that is well. We also have an emotional and relational investments in other people and that's one of the beauties of beautiful things about a relationship if you are friends. You have a family member and they're going through a wonderful time in their life maybe the they struggled for a while and they finally got over that disease or they got that promotion What do you do with them you know you read Joyce with those who rejoice and and if someone is going through a very difficult time you mourn with them and even though you're not going through yourself you are participating you're part of that process and you know as much as we are affected by some of the things that go on around us sometimes we hear of these great big tragedies in the world around us and because we are removed from them socially we are removed geographically we are removed chronologically We are removed we hear about these events and they don't really affect us I can many times you're watching the nightly news and you hear about a tragedy maybe here in the United States or in some foreign country and people were killed and and just for a moment you think oh that's horrible what's for dinner you know we sometimes we do that because we're not invested we don't have an investment in those and so sometimes we just simply move on with life well this morning we read a passage of Scripture Joel read from Luke twenty four talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Luke twenty four all read this for you Luke twenty four verse one it says. On the first day of the week very early in the morning the woman the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the two so I want you to just imagine what it was like for these women these women had a huge investment. In Jesus Christ they had a relational and emotional investment in him they knew him and they loved him they had a spiritual investment in him and so they were prepared to go to the tomb early on that Sunday morning and participate in the burial process of Jesus Christ but they didn't get what they were expecting. Something Completely Different happened verse two they found the stone rolled away from the tomb but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus while they were wondering about the suddenly two men in close they glean like lightning stood beside them in their freight the women valid down with their faces to the ground but the men said to them Why do you look for the living among the dead he is not here he has risen. Some of the best and most powerful words that have ever been spoken in human history and so we read about this event in Luke and all of us should say where to say this happened quite a long time ago almost two thousand years ago how am I supposed to view and respond to what happened back then is this merely some historical event that I'm just supposed to be aware of sort of like a trivia question or more than that should we expect of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to affect us in a very real and personal matter. You know if the Bible is true so when you came this morning you got your Bible on your phone or you have a Bible in your hand and we carry this around and we read these words but if this is true and this really happened then this event is the single most important event that has happened in the entire history of mankind outside of creation itself and the Bible tells us that if we by faith believe in these events and we put our trust in their significance then we will participate in them in a very real and life changing way and so for this morning as we are celebrating Easter we are going to look at the two main parts of Easter this Easter story and they reveal to all mankind these two things that all of us are going to participate in I want you open your Bible so Romans Chapter five and six. We're going to spend our time there this morning there are several different verses that we could read for Easter Sunday that teaches about the Easter story but I want to go to Romans five and six and the first thing. That we realize that the first thing that these are story reveals to all of mankind is something that we're going to participate in is this all of us will participate in the punishment of sins every single person in this room is going to participate in the punishment of since you know it's kind of. It's kind of a statement is it. Every single sin thing about there's every single sin that has ever been committed by every single human being will not go unpunished and some of you might be thinking oh wait a second I soon all the time and no one ever knows about my sins God does and those sins will be punished and they're going to be punished in one of two ways. Either you will have to pay the penalty for your sins or they were all put on Christ on the cross and he paid for them let's read about this in Romans Chapter five Romans Chapter five verse twelve. Romans Chapter five beginning in verse twelve it says therefore justice and came into the world through one man and guess through sin and so desperate to all men because all sin. And we decided we weren't there we were there in the Garden of Eden how did their sin affect us while the Bible teaches us that Adam and Eve when they sin sin entered the entire human race we have a participation in their sin there is a a little phrase that's kind of helpful that I learned back in college you know why why why are we sinners Well this is kind of the answer to that question why do we sin we are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners you understand the difference between those and if you want proof that we are born sinners all you need to do is look at a baby right. J. Vernon McGee famous preacher said babies are seven pounds of sin and especially. When they get to age to a man Al your parents can be a that's true my kid is a sinner Well why is he saying he's born a sinner there are sins that have come into the world because of Adam and Eve were good verse eighteen Romans five eighteen. Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men so one act of righteousness leads to the justification and life for all men for as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners so by the one man's obedience the many will be made right yours. And so this verse here in Romans is teaching us that Christ's perfect sacrifice and his perfect life paid for the sins of mankind and Jesus teaches us that if we place our faith in him and this is a word this is a phrase it's used all throughout the scripture if we put our faith and trust in who Jesus Christ is then we are in him that we are in Christ meaning the things that happened to Christ the things that he did are credited to us and we have a participation in those things as read about this in Romans Chapter six but of Romans Chapter six verse one two. So this is something that we can expect when it comes to the payment of our sins crisis death will cover them if we place our face on him all men six verses one and two. One two and three it says what shall we say then are we to continue in sin the Grace me a bound by no means how can we who died to sin still live in it do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus we're bad ties into his death now look at verse ten. Verse ten says Romans extend for the death he died he died to sin once for all but the life he lives he lives to God So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin. And alive to God in Christ Jesus and so this teaches us that Jesus' death pays for our sins so how is it possible that we get credit for Christ death well back in verse three it explains it it says that we've been baptized into Jesus meaning we have been permanently identified with him and this is talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and so in some places their faith in Jesus Christ the Bible teaches us an important lesson of public when you put up the fusions one infusions one passage this is talking about us being permanently identified with Christ and His works if you change one thirteen and fourteen. It says in him in Christ you also when you heard the word of truth the gospel of yourselves ation and believed in him were sealed with the promise Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory and so what God does this as soon as we place our faith in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection we are sealed with the Holy Spirit this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and if we are bad times by the Holy Spirit and placed in Christ then his dad we become a participation of that we participate in the death of Christ and so when God looks at us he sees the death of Christ he sees the blood of Christ and not our sins saying Christine is five seventeen says Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old is passed away and behold the new Eskom you know talking about sins and how our sins are forgiven I realize as I was putting all this together it can get really technical you know we can get into all the technical details of how our sins are paid for in us being baptized into Christ and were baptized into His death and and when you get into technical things you can easily get bogged down in making it kind of boring sometimes we don't like the technical details right sometimes all you want to do is focus on the emotional stuff we like to feel right we like to have our our hearts. Strings pulled and there's plenty of that in the story but here's something important motions cannot solve the problem of our sin. Only payment can solve the problem of our sin. Live you here probably have a mortgage on your house you're making payments what would you think if you wrote a love letter to the C.E.O. of your mortgage company and said you know you are the best C.E.O. you are the best mortgage broker in the world and I love you so much and you have the power to pay off my mortgage will you please do that I believe that you can do that you know what he's going to say to you show me the money he's not going to get his pay off your mortgage there needs to be a payment made for your mortgage and in God's great love for us he sacrificed his son so that Christ's holiness and justice for God's holiness and justice would be satisfied listen everyone sins are going to be paid for but if you accept Christ death as payment for your sins then you have as the Bible teaches us you have participated in the death of Jesus Christ and if you don't accept Christ payment for your sins then you will be responsible for them and so as we read the Easter story this is the first important truth that we really reveal to us that we will participate in the punishment of sins and if our faces in Christ and His payment pays for our sins Well the second thing these three story reveals to us is that everyone will also participate in a resurrection from the dead everyone will be resurrected you know the resurrection of Jesus surprise certain people they were shocked that the heresies of the Sadducees and all the religious leaders they didn't believe that he would be resurrected but they said you go put a guard on the tomb because we think that his disciples are going to come and steal his body but guess what he rose from the grave. And they should have been prized by this because Jesus predicted this he told us was going to happen can you put up on the screen John five that Jesus teaches us that everyone will be resurrected in fact there are two resurrections there are two resurrections that are going to take place in John Chapter five Jesus teaches us this John Chapter five Verse twenty eight. Jesus talking to his disciples and he says Do not marvel at this for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out here the two resurrections those who have done good to the resurrection of life. And those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment there are two resurrections and every human being that has ever existed will be resurrected to one of these two things and one of someone is saying well I I don't believe this I really don't think this is going to happen it doesn't change the fact that it's going to happen if this is true this is going to happen and I suspect that there are going to be millions if not billions of people who are going to stand before Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne of judgment after they've been resurrected stand before the judgment seat and they're going to have this thought go through their mind. If only I would have known. If only I would have known that my sins separated me from God if only I wouldn't known they Christ's death paid for my sins if only I would have known I was going to spend eternity somewhere I would have done things differently. A few months ago I was talking to a friend of mine the friend at the friend that I told you about the want to give me the Michigan hat his name is Eric Postma and I'm going to be in Michigan in two weeks from now so I'll be here next Sunday and then I'm going to be in Michigan for a pastor's conference and I was telling my friend I am going to be there all this get together let's have lunch or do something he says it's great and he's into running kind of like I am and there's a fun run that he's been doing for. I think a couple of years it's a half marathon trail run in Michigan a trail run in Michigan you just don't hit a tree and you're fine there's not too many mountains but he's telling me about this trail run and I thought you know I'm going to be there on a Saturday maybe I should do this within and he said yeah they'd be great sign up for this trail run and so this is like two or three months ago and I'm doing some research I'm going to I could do this with no problem and Dr two or three months I'll train I'll train really hard and I looked at an online and I saw that there were another couple trail runs before this trail run in Michigan and I thought I'll sign up for this one in February in this one and margin and when I get to the trail run with my friend going to beat him so bad I'm going to go so fast so much faster than him and all of bragging rights forever I'm a I'm a little competitive and that means a little bit to me so so I'm looking at this I go Hey I told him for am going to find out because you better do it quick because you know the it sells out and so one day I'm online and I'm registering for and I give my name and my shirt size and all the stuff I hit register and I immediately got an e-mail that said Sorry races full well it's got to be kidding me and so I emailed the race director and said Hey my name is Josh going to be in town and I got a friend he's told told me I should do this is there any way you can squeeze one more person into this race I'm coming up there and I need to know can you can you let me know you know what are my chances of racing in this race he said you know I hate to tell you this but you know we can only have a certain number of people race on this course because it's kind of a small course and I have a lot of other people who signed up before you so they're Before you on the waiting list and so I said Just tell me what are my chances and he says pretty much slim to none so blind OK so I have been training have been running I did do those other two races and on Thursday. I get any e-mail from the Race Director me in about twenty five or thirty other people who are on the waiting list and he said guess what we have room when you. On a run if you'd like to know what I'm thinking. And I literally sat on my desk and thought If only I would have known. If only I would have known that there was going to be an opening the last two or three months of my life would have been different I would have been running I would have done those other races I would have been training I would have been prepared to get it done my best so that when I saw my friend I could rub it in his face forever but I'm faster than well I did sign up yet he said he had to sign up by Sunday which is today I did sign out and now I'll just run it for fun with my friends you know go out find. Whatever anyway. But I thought if only I would have known if only oh what a KNOWN that I could run in this race how many people are literally going to be at the end of their lives their end of their existence and they're going to say before the Great White Throne of judgment if only I wouldn't know I wish someone would have told me that this was going to take place well let's read about that events let's go to Revelation chapter twenty. Revelation chapter twenty. Almost to the very end of your Bibles Revelation chapter twenty and this is dealing with future events and we're not going to get into too much detail about what's going on here but in this passage we read about these two different resurrections. The resurrection that is like Christ's and the resurrection to judgment Revelation chapter twenty beginning in verse four. Revelation twenty beginning in verse four it says. Then I saw thrones and see them them or those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the Word of God and those who would not worship the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their forehead or their hands listen they came to life. And reigned with Christ for a thousand years that's the first resurrection we see this. Second resurrection of were spied the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended and now it was to the great weight throne of judgment this is the first resurrection Blessitt in the holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection over such the second death has no power but they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years there are two resurrections in here and you see that Jesus came back to life to teach us this truth now go back to Romans Chapter six. Romans Chapter six picking up in verse five. Romans Chapter six verse five teaches us that we are will participate in the resurrection like Christ Romans six five says For if we have been united with him in a death like his we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be done brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin for one who has died has been set free from sin now if we have died with Christ we believe that we also will live with him we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again Destin a longer has dominion over him for the death he died he died to sin once for all but the life he lives he lives to God So you also you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus I hope you all see the significance of what is being taught here especially verse five Look at verse five again it says For if we have been united if we have a participation if we have been united with him in a death like his we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like hits and so Easter is about the deaths and the resurrection of the Son of God and our fate. Within him means that we participated in his death because we've been sealed and baptized by the Holy Spirit we are identified with the death of Jesus but it also means that we should fully expect to participate in a resurrection like his that's what the Easter story tells us and Paul tells us when this is going to happen I mean all of us want to know when this is going to happen right and if the genre First Thessalonians four verses sixteen and seventeen it says for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first then we who are alive who are left are we caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we always will be with the Lord Well when this is going to happen we have no idea it will probably happen when we least expect it but when it happens if you are in Christ you should expect to participate in this that's what Easter teaches us and so Easter is the most important event in human history I believe and our face and acceptance of these events determines who will pay for our sin is either Christ on the cross or you. And our face in acceptance of these events will also determine which resurrection we will participate in the resurrection to life with Christ or the resurrection to judgement for eternity and for you here today you should all now be expecting to participate in one of those and it's your choice if you want to accept the free gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ all you need to do is ask that the Bible teaches us how easy it is to accept this and to be found in Christ in Romans ten nine and ten it teaches us how we can be saved it says. Romans ten nine ten because if you confess with your mouse that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart to God raised Him from the dead you will be saved for with the heart one believes in his justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. And now that all of you are here today and all of you have heard what the Bible has to say no one here can ever say if only I would have known now you know. And now it's time to make a choice many of you here I hope all of you have already made your choice and you have placed your face in Christ that his death will cover your sins and that you will participate in the resurrection like it is but if you have never made that decision if you've never prayed this prayer that we see here and Romans eight nine eight or ten nine and ten you can do that right now and how the hope of eternal life and so I invite you to do that if you've never done so before I like everyone to close your eyes and about your head and just kind of silent your heart before God and come humbly before him and if you are ready to do this for the first time just simply pray this prayer to God and He will hear you in your heart say this say Father God I know I am a sinner. But now I believe that Jesus died for my sins. And I believe you raised him from the dead to give me the hope of eternal life. Right now I place my face in Christ alone for myself ation. And so the good news for us here on this Easter Sunday is if you prayed that prayer whether today for the first time or if you ever have you will rise again some day just like Christ did let's close in prayer and thank God for the Strewth dear lord we we've just come before you today and it's so wonderful that we can celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and today Lord as we look at Romans in these other passages we realize why. You sent your son into this world to solve these two problems you you created us to live with you forever but our sins separated us from you and so Lord in your great love for us you sent your son to pay for our sins so that we wouldn't have to and you raised him back from the grave so that we too might have the hope of spending eternity with you Lord we proclaim this we share this and we ultimately participate in this and so father we're so grateful that you've given us this truth so that we know so that we won't be standing before you of the Great White Throne of judgment and saying why didn't anyone tell me in your great love you told us the Lord it's my prayer that as we go out here for those of us who have made this decision that we will share with the world around us that they too can have this hope and we will share this great message of salvation with them so Lord thank you so much we love you for what you have done and what you will do on our lives and we now close this this worship service and with one more song we prove we sing to the praise and honor and glory of Jesus Christ and His name we pray Amen.