The Cautions of Hope
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.