A Thrill of Hope: A Weary World Rejoices Hope Desired | Psalm 130 – 1 Peter 1:3-7
November 28, 2021 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: A Thrill of Hope: A Weary World Rejoices | Advent 2021
Topic: Gospel Passage: Psalm 130, 1 Peter 1:3–7
Christopher Rich – November 28, 2021
A Thrill of Hope: A Weary World Rejoices
Hope Desired | Psalm 130 – 1 Peter 1:3-7
Introduction | What is Hope and why don’t we have it?
Good Morning! Merry Christmas! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we begin a series during Advent (Arrival) A Thrill of Hope: A Weary World Rejoices. Besides being a lyric to “O Holy Night”, this is a relevant topic today.
When past pain and present realties have us weak and weary, we need a real and living hope to endure in the present and persevere to a better future in and with Christ. Hope helps us understand part of what was/is/is being accomplished by the Arrival of Jesus into human history. Words have meaning, HOPE means:
Hope Defined - Hope (yakhal, qavah, elpis) The basic meaning of these, waiting, tension, anticipation. Specifically, applied to a future that’s better than the present. Why do we want to anticipate a future that is better than the present? Because the present doesn’t satisfy. So at times to me these really don’t sound like great words, especially when they are future focused and our present reality is “less than.” I want hope to mean “wait is over”, “tension resolved” “anticipation realized” Because I’m impatient. I want “Joy” now. I want “Peace” now. I don’t want anything “later” then waiting for a tension to be released. There are times you have a tangible need for hope because the tension is difficult current circumstances make us ask, will this ever change, will this ever get better? Will there ever be resolution? I am weary, the waiting seems “too long”. We lose a sense of hope as our endurance for “less than” fades, our sense of dissatisfaction grows. Hope is something we all need and yet we can all confess that it doesn’t always seem present in our lives.
Why don’t we have hope? Because we place it (or grasp for it) in the wrong things. Our hope is often in:
- Ourselves – Hope of progress in our lives that we accomplish. There is a better me coming in the future because of all the work I have, or am putting into myself, when that guy finally shows up, hope realized.
- Others – 2 ways: 1. If/when the people around me will change then the future will be better since they’re the reason things aren’t good OR 2. If others would help more me then it’s good. Both Unhealthy
- Outside Circumstances – Better situation in my life for flourishing are coming because good changes are around the corner. There is a path for a promotion, there is new potential in a move or relationship, etc.
- Outstanding Promises Believed – I say outstanding (for alliteration) because sometimes we have a hopeful belief in something that is so dramatic it would simply change everything. My ship coming in.
- Optimism – More grounded, but Hope is not Optimism. We can too easily be optimistic rather than realistic, I think I can see how this could get better, or I can take these pieces and make it good.
The problem with each of these is they are based either on real things that fail repeatedly (us/others), fictions not turned real, or things we think we can see even when or vision is blurry. But the response cannot be trying to trick ourselves to happiness by constant cynicism. “I’ll just never thing things can go well or get better so then if there is any uptick in any way I’ll be pleasantly surprised.” The answer also isn’t to give up on hope all together because it’s essential for us to function and flourish an imperfect world. Why is hope so important? Because if we don’t have it then we fall into despair even depression and an existential crisis arises because if we can no longer anticipate things getting better or that there is actually a future which is experientially and truly “better” than what we have now then what is the point of everything? Why get up out of bed in the morning? Let’s start self-medicating. Maybe you’ve even asked yourself that a few times. What have you placed hope in, where have you been looking for it? What do you think needs to change for a better future to be realized? Where are you getting your vision of the future from? Is it working?
We need to reorient ourselves and place our hope is something or someone outside ourselves, more reliable than others, and bigger than our circumstances. If Hope is desired, then look to where it is actually available.
PART I | Where should we look for hope? | Psalm 130
Psalm 130 | Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! 2O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! 3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
We always need hope, but we especially need hope the most when we’re in places of despair or disorientation that are leading us to fear. Fear is an enemy of hope. Fear is the opposite of hope because it anticipates a worse future, or it is waiting for release of tension with something bad. We look down the road and while we have no idea what the future is we know at a soul level around the next bend is bad, or even worse than the bad we have at this point. It is in times of great fear we start to cry out and reach out for an answer for the fear. Why I loved Psalm 130 is because we often think of fear as an enemy of hope being something that is external but here is a humility that recognizes that the greatest enemy of hope from fear is not out there, but in here. WE are our greatest enemy to having hope. Because if we a not satisfied with our present and want a preferred better future then we must ask why is our present “less than” preferred. It is often because of us, it’s because of sin. God isn’t the one to blame for sin and brokenness. If our expectations aren’t realized because they weren’t realistic that not external, that is internal. The problem is in us. In saying this I’m not minimizing the impact of sin against us from others or from circumstances. But we have no control and less influence than we think over circumstances. The distress of the writer of Psalm 130 is real and what he’s crying out for is not justice (Someone fix what has been done to me) but rather mercy (spare me from the justice I deserve for my sin). God fix me. Not because I, or you, or them, are the worst people on the planet because if (and He is) God is counting knowing all our “iniquities/sin” who can stand? No one! All have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard. We often say past performance is the best indicator of future performance… How is yours? Could it be better? If so, that can sometimes enslave our identity when we know how much we’ve failed. But we don’t need to be a slave to our past. To be free from it we need more than progress we need to be changed. We need to be changed fundamentally, we cannot be where we place our hope or look for hope. But with God…… There is (can be) forgiveness of our sin. God can give mercy (so we don’t have to fear the just wrath we deserve) but instead we can fear/revere a good, just, merciful God.
Fear turns to hope when we revere God. This revering, worship is what we do when we’re then “waiting” on God. We’re waiting on God, but we’re waiting on God to fix something wrong, wrong with us, wrong with the world. This waiting is one full of “hope” because we are anticipating a better future why? Verse 5 says we have hope because of His word, what He’s promised, what He’s said, what He’s instructed for us in our lives. So this deep “soul hope” is like a watchmen, a night guard, who is in the midst of a dark night vigilant knowing there are real threats things to be concerned about, darkness that keeps us from knowing what everything around us is, but who has hope because he knows as LONG as the night is it’s not endless. Morning is coming, the sun will rise and that is better. The watchmen has hope in a morning coming because he also remembers the last day time. There was a time that was not as dark and threatening as night is and he can look back to the last day do have hope for a new day to dawn. This new day is a day with God as a forgiven sinner and redeemed slave as part of a new people. While hope is in something unseen it’s not in someone who is unfaithful. Hope in God is realistic (not optimistic) because of the character of God. See none of us have a character to produce lasting hope in our lives or our world. But God.. Has a “steadfast love”. Steadfast is consistent, faithful, unchanging. God’s love led Him to provide “plentiful redemption” for those who wait/hope on/for Him. God is big enough to provide redemption for those who desire it. Enough for a new nation (Israel, people of God) who have been saved from the slavery of their sin. This corporate nation of God’s people (made up of individual redeemed sinners) needs hope of a better future. What is the future? What are we waiting for God to do? How is God going to do it?
PART III | Jesus is the Promised Hope of God | Hosea 2:14-15
Hosea 2:14-15 | 14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
Hope is Attractive - In a dark period of where the sun had set on what was considered “good days” (King Solomon is gone) there was moral and religious decay (so sin) had led to a trajectory where things we not getting better for God’s people but much worse. In fact, a kingdom wasn’t going to arrive but one was about to fall. People we’re going to need “hope” in the midst of circumstances that didn’t lend themselves to optimism. In the middle of God promising justice for unrepentant sinners, He also give great hope He’s going to call people back to Himself (to have hope/wait on the Lord) God has called people, set people free before, been merciful before, gracious before. So it’s God’s past faithfulness that motivates hope for the future. You look forward by looking backward, trusting in nothing other than God’s character. God out of His character is going to bring people out of slavery to our own sin to hope in Him. How? Hope comes from being humbled. He gives us hope by taking us to places of wilderness where all the other things we hope in have failed us or are distant. In that place God doesn’t call us out and beat us down for deserting Him or toughly “Have Hope!” Instead, He “talks tenderly” to His people. Giving them a picture of hope on based robust freedom. Freedom from slavery of sin, but more than that, freedom with abundant life. He says He’s going to provide us with personal abundant life from and with God. In wilderness, He will give “her her vineyard” that’s personal and possessive. BY God you will be given life WITH God. How is He going to do it? He’s going to turn a valley of trouble (great conflict and fear) and transform it into a door of hope! What is the response? People will respond like they did when God called them out of slavery in Egypt, where God brought justice but passed over those who were covered by the blood of the lamb (Passover). Where God with His mighty hand moved them out of a place of great trouble and lead them to a Promised Land as a shadow of the greater salvation work, that He is promising here. Hope is in a person, and that person is Jesus.
Jesus arrives to bring hope in the middle of wilderness. Jesus is called the true vine, and he says “I am the vine”, one who comes to bring life and bring it to the full. Life that is personal, possessive, and also corporate. Jesus lives life for us in wilderness. Then Jesus endures great trouble so we can have great hope. It’s not a valley but rather on a mount where He suffers on the cross a place of excruciating trouble and dies. Is buried in the ground. That doesn’t look like circumstances where there is a lot of abundant life going to spring from that. There was a sense for those who followed and trusted Jesus that the day had past. Hope was dead and buried. Night would be forever. While the old day may have passed in the middle of the night it may seem dark, but remember light is going come at dawn. Why? Because the Son will rise! The tomb is empty and rolled back and now a place of death and trouble is now seen as a doorway to new Hope. The response to the doorway of hope is many people leave the places of slavery into a journey to a promised land.
PART III | How do we Experience Hope in Jesus? | 1 Peter 1:3-7
1 Peter 1:3-7 | 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Again, we see Hope in the character of God, here clearly displayed in Jesus Christ! God has such mercy that HE has caused a present better than our past and far better than our certain future without Him in our sin. He has such great mercy because He meted out great Justice on Jesus. So there is hope for a way out of the Justice we deserve for our sin. Without Jesus there is NO hope because if hope is the anticipation of a better future, then you cannot have that without salvation for your sin. This day, or maybe a thousand more you have in this life is as good as it can possibly get. After your death the only expectation is not forever in paradise, but under the just wrath of God for sin. That is not good news, but God is gracious. More than simply saving us from the consequences of sin, He has done exceedingly more to give us hope now.
We have Hope that we have been made new. We are born again, born from above. We have a new life with God, with ourselves, a new identity. One where we no longer are our old selves, we are made new. The hope we have in being made new is that we don’t have to fear who we once were because they’re gone. We don’t have to be concerned that our efforts in growth are in vain because we are now in communion with God who gives us and grants us growth and we have hope that He who began a work will finish it in us. So our hope in our own growth or being a slave to our own brokenness can replaced with Jesus is our living hope so we have a hope that is active. That means there is never a time that Hope is dead or that Hope is not working. This means when even with we think hope is distant, it is in fact present, and can be a comfort to us. It means when we need hope or desire hope we can call out for it knowing Jesus will answer.
Hope for an inheritance. Like a real one, not one that dies, is dirty, or will disintegrate. This a hope of a future with God that is protected by God. It means your final destination is an eternity with God as His son or daughter. This gives us the simple truth that the best is not now but that the best is yet to come.
Hope for endurance. We’re going to face trials and those can even cause us great grief (Hey should be happy it’s trial time!) Hope for our endurance not because of our faithfulness and character but because of His. Hope implies patience, because you have to wait for it to be realized. Since Hope is not circumstantial but is based on a belief about the future, we can have hope even when our experiences tell us we shouldn’t have any. There will be many long nights as watchmen in this world take heart, Day is coming!
Hope for refinement. If there is something I hate more than waiting, it’s the pain of refinement. Sometimes the trials are to refine you produce in you the change God has promised to bring. So we can have hope as we’re being refined even in “fire” that is and can be for the purposes of producing a better future.
Hope in His return Hope God will restore everything!! What are we look forward to? A new city with no more sin and suffering and abundant life with God and His people. At Christmas we look back celebrating Jesus’ arrival into history and His work to secure our future, so we have hope now when we Trust Jesus.
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