Hope Does not Disappoint

Examining Critical Lessons Found In Bible Verses About Hope.

George Wright
Oct 11, 2020    42m
Have you found yourself feeling hopeless and defeated as we have faced times of illness and political upheaval? This inspiring message examines Bible verses about hope, and reminds us of to seek the eternal hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.


Christian Principles 

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:01 Join me in thanking all who have been involved in the e-learning process here at Shandon, it has really been incredible. And I want to give credit where credit is due, so I want to give a shout out to Pastor Mike who oversees our kids' ministry, and to Don Turner who oversees our preschool ministry, Frank Shimkus who oversees our family ministry, they rallied together with our entire staff and said, okay, here's a plan for how we can minister to families in such an unusual time. And then volunteers from inside the church, and outside the church, stepped up and said, we want to be involved. We know the need is great, we know this is stressful, we know there's nothing easy about this. And there really has been an army serving here at Shandon, these students and families in a time of need. And so it has been a beautiful expression of the love of God on display through his church. and I can't thank you enough for all who have been involved. And we know that the school process is about to change again here at the end of the month, and so we're navigating how we can continue to join with families to serve in this time, and we'll have some more information coming as the Lord lays before us some opportunities. But we just wanted to say thank you to all who have been involved in this great process of being able to come alongside these kids and their families in such a time of need like this.

George Wright: 01:26 I also, today, have the great privilege of recognizing some of our city's finest, we have some of our Columbia police officers sitting down in front here today. Would you join me in thanking them for all that they do for us? The way they serve? We're grateful for you, we're grateful for you. We all know that 2020 has been very challenging in many ways, and we all know there's some really strong opinions around the police, and reform, or issues or whatever the case may be, and there's strong, strong opinions as to how we move forward. Here's the strong opinion I bring today, there are people who are laying their lives on the line every day to protect and to serve, and we are grateful for what you are doing. So thank you for what you're doing. Thank you.

George Wright: 02:39 In just a moment, I''ll have a word of prayer as we step into this passage of scripture, and I hope you'll join me in praying for our police officers who are serving in our city and all around, because we know this has been a very stressful and difficult season. We're going to be in Romans chapter 5 today as Pastor Ed mentioned just a moment ago, and so I would encourage you go ahead and grab your Bible and turn to Romans chapter 5. And if you're new to Shandon, we are so grateful that you're here with us. If you're joining us online, we're so thankful that you are with us for this time as we step into the Word of God. We've been walking through a series that we're calling a Reason For Hope. And we've stepped into this season very intentionally, this fall, preparing for the election coming up, knowing that there's been a lot going on around us, a lot happening throughout this year, and a lot that's being shouted on both sides of the aisle that can cause us to lose hope altogether. This has been a challenging, difficult year in many different categories, and we need to be reminded as the people of God, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been given a reason for hope in the midst of anything that you may navigate in this life. And what we see in Romans chapter 5 today in this beautiful passage of scripture, is that the Word of God lays before us a hope that does not put us to shame, or a hope that does not disappoint because it is a hope that is always faithful and true.

George Wright: 04:23 We're going to start in verse 5 of Romans, chapter 5, to get us going here in this message. And I'd like to invite you if you're willing and able to stand with me as I read from the Word of God, so that we all can be reminded in our standing, that the Word of God is the foundation under our feet as the people of God. The Word of God is what we stand upon, and the Word of God lays before us, what God says is right, and good, and true. So this is the Word of the Lord, Romans chapter 5, penned by the Apostle Paul to the early church in Rome. It says this, "And hope does not put us to shame." Some of your translations may say, "Hope does not disappoint." Why? "Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Now, this is spoken to the church, this is being spoken to the people of God who have followed Jesus Christ in faith. And we know that's not everybody joining us, we know you gave me navigating faith today, trying to still determined what you believe as it relates to our relationship with God. Some of you are struggling on this journey of faith, I recognize that today, this is what the Word of God is inviting his people into. There is a hope that does not put us to shame, a hope that does not disappoint. Why? Because God's love has been poured into our hearts if you are a follower of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

George Wright: 06:06 As we consider this Word of God, let's pray together that God would speak into our lives what we need to hear. Let's pray. Father, as we stand before you, we are so grateful for the opportunity to gather. Certainly in this year with all that we've walked through, we don't for a moment when it take for granted the privilege that it is to gather together to hear from your word. And we believe in this sacred time that you have set apart for us to engage with what you reveal in the Holy scripture, that you have something specific to say to each and every one of us, so I pray that you would have your way among us. I pray that we would hear what you, the living God, desire for us to hear, use this time for your glory. And Father, as we have the opportunity and the privilege to recognize some of our officers joining us here today, Lord, we pray collectively for those who are serving our city, for those who are putting their lives on the line to protect and to serve. Lord, we pray that you would protect them, we pray that you would guide them in wisdom. And Lord, we pray that you would show us your way forward, even in the midst of all the tension that has been swirling around us culturally this year. We look to you, we need to hear from you, and we need to recognize and see that there is a hope that does not disappoint. So God, it's in Christ' name, I pray. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 08:04 Disappointment has been a reality for all of us in some form or fashion here in 2020. We recognize this year has not been easy for anyone as it relates to what we call normal, and every single one of us in some way has experienced disappointment. Here's how I know this is true, I want to put up a definition of disappointment on the screen. Disappointment is when outcome is worse than the expectation. How many of you in January of 2020 said, I know what's going to happen this year and it's going to be exactly what we've experienced, and so you're not disappointed in any way, you knew this was coming right. If you raise your hand, you're a liar or a prophet, probably a liar. Because the reality is when this year began, we all had expectations for 2020. In fact, many of us had more expectations than we might typically hold at the beginning of a new year. It's 2020, it's the year to see clearly, it's the year of something new, it's the year of new vision. And then there's just a few months we're hit with this crazy circumstance that none of us saw coming, and the outcome has been worse than the expectation. We have been disappointed, many of us might still be disappointed. The dictionary, Merriam Webster, describes disappointment this way, defeated in expectation or hope. Isn't that interesting that when you see a definition in the dictionary of disappointment, it connects disappointment and hope? And it says that disappointment is what we feel when our hope has been defeated, when our hope has been crushed, when what we are hoping in has failed us, or has let us down.

George Wright: 10:16 Disappointment is a reality for every single one of us, which is why when we turn our attention to Romans chapter 5, we are given such a beautiful statement about real hope. Because what the scripture does here, is the scripture meets us in the midst of disappointment and speaks to the reality of disappointment, and struggle, and even suffering, and shows us that there is a hope that will not disappoint or put us to shame. So as we step back into Romans chapter 5 here, I want you to know that the Apostle Paul who penned this letter through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the church in Rome, is inviting us on a journey here. This is a journey to understand real true hope that does not disappoint or fail us, but it's as if the Apostle Paul knows there will be many among us who will be skeptical about this hope. We are disappointed by the things that we hope in so often, that the Apostle Paul knows people are going to be skeptical when I talk about a hope that does not disappoint. So I want to take you on a journey, I want to invite you to see this reason for hope. And I want to build a case, through the Word of God, that shows there is a hope that is different from anything else in which we might place our hope in this life.

George Wright: 11:59 So we go back to the beginning of the chapter, Romans chapter 5 verse 1, this is what the scripture says as the journey begins towards hope, and the case is built for why we have a hope that does not disappoint. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, (the scripture says) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Justified by faith, leading to a peace with God, through our Lord. Jesus Christ. What is the Apostle Paul doing here? He's saying, I want you to understand very clearly what the message of the gospel reveals. And I don't want there to be any confusion here, because when you truly understand the message of the gospel, then you will be able to see this hope that does not disappoint or put us to shame, because this is a hope that does not fail. So what is Paul doing? He's saying, let's begin with the gospel. What does the gospel say? The gospel says that the way to be justified in the sight of God is through Jesus Christ. The way to be right with God is through what Christ has done for us that we could never do for ourselves. And Paul wants to make it clear, this is the only possible way to be justified before God. There is no plan B, Jesus is the only way to be justified in the sight of God, according to the Word of God.

George Wright: 13:42 Your works cannot put you as one who is justified in the sight of God, read Romans 3, it lays it out clearly. Your religious effort and your family of origin cannot put you as justified in the sight of God. Read Romans 4, it is only through Christ and Christ alone that we can be justified in the sight of God. And this is so incredibly important for us to understand, why justification, being made right with God, is so important. Because in the culture we live in today, as it has been for many, many cultures before us, we have a way of being very flippant and casual as it relates to sin, specifically as it relates to our own sin. But when we understand what the Bible says about justification through Christ alone, we must understand that the Bible is speaking to the true implications and consequences of sin. We so often look at others and say, well, I'm doing better than my neighbor, I'm doing better than that guy on the other side of the aisle that's so crazy with all of his ridiculous views, I'm doing better than that person who violates the law every opportunity that they get, I'm doing better than them, so I must be doing okay. But the Word of God, and the doctrine of justification says, we must all understand that sin in any form or fashion is a rebellion against a Holy and perfect God. This is not fun to talk about, I'm not winning any points with this right here. This is, this is challenging to hear, this is not what our culture wants to hear at all, but the scripture makes it clear that we all have sin and all sin is a defiant rebellion against a Holy, and righteous, and perfect God. And as a result, please hear this, your sin and mine, all sin puts us in a posture of being an enemy with God. And as an enemy with God, we have no hope of making things right on our own. Our sin must be dealt with so that we can have peace with God, but we have no way of dealing with our sin as an enemy of God, we are completely hopeless to make things right with God on our own. So please hear this, this is where the gospel is so beautiful. Paul is reminding us, it is through what Christ has done that you can be justified in the sight of God, you can be forgiven of your sin, you can be given a new life and a new story. And as a result, you can have peace with God because of what Christ has done, this is justification through Christ alone, that is our only hope.

George Wright: 17:14 And look at what he says later in the chapter, Romans chapter 5 verse 10, "For if while we were enemies." Sin puts us as enemies with God, "If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." The Apostle Paul building his case says, if you understand what Christ has done, you will understand that through Christ alone, you are justified in the sight of God. You are forgiven of your sin, you are no longer enemies, you are now called a child of God. And as a child of God, you are invited into peace with God, he is our peace and he is our hope. That's the beginning of the case.

George Wright: 18:11 Look back at Romans 5, to see where the Apostle Paul takes us next on this journey. Verse 2, he says, "Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoiced in hope of the glory of God." How I love this verse, this grace in which we stand. I just wonder this morning, what is it on which you stand? Are you here today, are joining us online, standing on your best effort, standing on your attempt to earn your way and prove your worth to God? Are you here today in your striving and your performance, standing on what you are attempting to do to put your life as one that is worthy to stand before God? For the scripture says, if you are standing in your performance, if you are standing in your effort, if you are standing in your works and your deeds and your religiosity, you are actually standing on something that is utterly hopeless. For you and I cannot save ourselves, our only hope is that the gift of salvation is offered to us by someone who knows we don't deserve it. That is grace, given something that we do not deserve, that we could never earn, that we could never achieve, that is grace. Are you standing in this grace? For this grace on which we stand is our only hope, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, can one be saved and made right with God. On what do you stand?

George Wright: 20:29 As the scripture continues in verse 3, this really is where the rubber meets the road. It's as if the Apostle Paul understands that we need to hear good doctrine, we need to understand proper theology, we need to understand what the good news of the gospel is revealing to us. But none of that is really going to matter to us, if it doesn't speak to real life, if it doesn't mean us in the midst of the reality of what we're walking through, it's going to fly right over our head. And so this is where the gospel hits the ground, this is where the rubber meets the road. The Apostle Paul begins to transition and say, all right, now let's talk about real hope. And we're going to start in a place that you probably don't expect. Romans chapter 5 verse 3, "More than that, the scripture says, more than just rejoicing in the grace on which we stand, "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance."

George Wright: 21:36 This is one of those ideas in the Bible, one of those statements in the Bible, that shows up other places, not just in Romans 5. Where if we stop and think about it at all with any kind of skepticism or cynicism, we go, how in the world could the Bible say something this ridiculous? We rejoice in our sufferings? I mean, come on, you've got to be crazy to rejoice in suffering. Does anybody honestly, truly in a knee jerk reaction in the midst of suffering go, this is a time to rejoice. I mean, this seems so foreign to the way we typically operate. Why in the world is this here? Remember the Apostle Paul is taking us on a journey to true hope, to a hope that does not disappoint or put us to shame. And so he stops in the midst of this journey to say, let me show you something that is the utmost importance, this hope that I am describing is a hope that is not built on the circumstances of your life, it's a hope that's not built on what you currently might be navigating, it's not built on the things of this world that so quickly and easily change. And it's not a hope that is built on some ridiculous illusion that if you follow Jesus, your life is going to be easy and comfortable all the time. That's actually heresy, it's called a prosperity gospel, it's nowhere in the Bible at all. No, no, the Bible speaks to the reality of life and says, there is a hope that meets you in suffering because you will suffer. The one thing we all have in common, we will suffer, every human being will face suffering in some form or fashion.

George Wright: 23:53 And the Apostle Paul knows that it is when we suffer that we most often lose hope, so he says, I'm going to meet you in the midst of your suffering and show you what true hope really is. The Word of God is showing us that if you want to truly understand hope, hope in the face of disappointment, hope that does not disappoint you must experience suffering in some form or fashion. Because as you experience suffering, it will invite you to see where true hope is found. Why do I say that? Because suffering exposes where you are currently placing your hope, and if you are currently placing your hope in things that will disappoint, suffering will be unbearable. But if you are placing your hope in one who does not disappoint, one who has suffered greatly, and meets us in our suffering, one who will not and has not changed from the dawn of creation to the end of eternity, if that's even a thing, the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever more, invites us to see there is a hope that does not disappoint.

George Wright: 25:36 I mean, think about it, as we navigate this year, how many of us have placed our hope in good health? I know I have, and we've been reminded this year, good health can be taken just like that. Many of you have experienced that long before 2020. How many of us place our hope in the things that we possess, or in economic vitality, or material wealth, and yet we've been reminded yet, again, just like we've been reminded so many times in the past that our economy is more fragile than we want to admit and can be brought to a halt by an invisible virus out of nowhere. Are we placing our hope in things that will ultimately disappoint, or are we placing our hope in something that is greater that will not disappoint.

George Wright: 26:36 Suffering invites us to ask that very tough question, and suffering shows us where hope can be truly found, and the Word of God says that produces endurance. What do you need in the midst of a tough race? You need endurance to finish the course. What do you need when things are a challenge? You need endurance to push your way through to the other side. The Word of God says suffering produces endurance, and then the scripture goes on verse 4 and 5, where we began this morning at the beginning of this message, "Endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Endurance produces character, character produces hope.

George Wright: 27:40 How does someone grow in godly character? Someone grows in godly character when they spend time with Jesus in his word, and recognize that his word is actually what sustains us, and guides us, and carries us through the struggles of this life to where the Lord wants us to be. And here's the reality, the more time you spend with Jesus, the more you will see your need for him. And the more you see your need for Jesus, the more you will grow in gratitude that he has met you in your need, and done for you what you could never do for yourself. And the more you grow in gratitude at what he has done to meet you in your need, and do for you what you could never do for yourself, the more you'll recognize that the safest, most hope filled place you could be is resting in this grace on which you stand in the finished work of Jesus Christ. And so you will look out at the world around you and you will not panic as one who is without hope, but you will rest, rest as one whose hope is secure. Suffering leads to endurance, which leads to character, which leads back to hope. A hope that does not disappoint because it's not a hope that is all about us or the things of this world, it is a hope about what God has done for us that we so desperately need.

George Wright: 29:28 And then as we close this message this morning, we come to what I would call the crescendo in the symphony of hope here with the Apostle Paul, this beautiful proclamation of the gospel that is Romans 5:6-8. If you want to understand the good news, if you want to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, read Romans 5:6-8. If you know someone that is struggling to understand the message of the gospel, encourage them to read Romans 5:6-8. Let's look at verse 6 and 7, it says this, "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—" Now I love what the Apostle Paul does here, he says, I want to lay before you in great clarity the beauty of the gospel. Christ has died for you in your weakness, when you were hopeless, when there was nothing that you could do to save yourself, Christ died for you at the cross offering you forgiveness, inviting you into new life that you might be made right with God, and have hope forevermore. That's the gospel.

George Wright: 30:49 But then Paul says, let me just remind you that this is something your heart longs for. Remember those great stories that you love to recall, be it a movie or a book. What do those stories so often having common, they so often have a hero that is willing to give their life for someone they love, or something they believe in that is good. The greatest love stories have this, right? Someone is willing to give their life for someone they love, or something that they believe is good. Let me give you my two favorite examples, these are my two favorite love stories, we'll put this up on the screen. Braveheart and Gladiator, I'm a romantic, you know these are love stories, right? Ladies, these are love stories, right? Wallace does whatever it takes to avenge the woman that he loves, that he has been married to. Whatever it takes to honor her, to make sure that she has been avenged. He gives his life for something that he believes is good, for someone that he loves. Maximus, the same thing, his family has been taken from him in a horrific way. He does whatever it takes, he gives his life for a greater good, but ultimately he is giving his life to avenge the one that he loves. That's romance right there, sacrifice for the one that he loves.

George Wright: 32:39 And here's what the Apostle Paul is doing by mentioning that sometimes there are heroes who would give their life for someone that they love, for something they believe is good. Sometimes, that doesn't happen all the time, that's why we celebrate, that's why we take notice, that's why we love those stories of heroic sacrifice because it's not the norm, many times people run the other way. Paul says, look as you remember some of these great stories of sacrifice and love on display for something good, or someone that is good, listen, don't miss this, I want to invite you into the greatest love story of all. There is a God that was willing to give his life, even when there was nothing good about you or me worthy of that sacrifice. God was willing to lay down his very life so that you and I, nothing more than hopeless sinners, could receive this gift of love on display through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at the cross. This is the greatest reason for hope that the world has ever seen.

George Wright: 34:00 Romans chapter 5 verse 8, yes you can applaud for this, this is good news. "God shows his love for us..." How, when? "...in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." In your worst, in my worst, that I don't want anyone to ever see or know about. God has seen it all and he knows it all, and he sent his son to die on the cross in my place, in your place, so that we could know his love, so that we could receive his forgiveness. So that we could be justified in the sight of God, invited into peace with God, invited to stand in grace, something we don't deserve, as a new creation to recognize that hope has been granted to us and will never be taken away. So if you know that to be true, Christian, if you know that to be true church, attender, if you know that to be true, follower of Jesus, live like it. This is our hope. We have been given a reason to hope that will not fail us, will not disappoint us, and will not put us to shame. So why are you putting all your hope and the things they will? Look to the one who will never abandon you or forsake you, look to the one who will never disappoint or go against his word, put your hope in Jesus.

George Wright: 35:47 And remember, remember, don't be scared of this, remember that this is what the world is longing to see and hear, that there really is a hope that does not disappoint. Do you know why people get so passionate about their politics? They believe their politics are their only hope. Do you know why people are so crazy with their money? They believe their money is their only hope. Do you know why people wig out and go nuts when a relationship crumbles? They believe that relationship was their hope. They're placing their hope in the wrong things. And so here we are church with the ultimate reason for hope, the hope that will not disappoint, so let's live like it. And let's share this news with the world that is desperately longing for hope, for that is what God has called his people to do.

George Wright: 36:59 I close with a quote that I absolutely love from Dr. Charles Colson, he said this many decades ago, at a time in our country when things seem to be spiraling out of control. Listen to what Dr. Colson said, "Where's the hope? I meet millions today who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. This has always been true. Where's the hope? The hope that each of us have is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God, working through the hearts of his people, and that's where our hope is in this country, and that's where our hope is in life." Will we live this? That's the question. The question for the church is not, where is your hope? The question for the church is not, do you have a hope that will not disappoint? You do! The question is, will we live this in such a way that the community and the world around us can see there is a hope that does not disappoint, a hope that is the same yesterday, today and forever more, and his name is Jesus? So look to Jesus, and see the reason we have for hope, and share the reason we have for this hope.

George Wright: 38:50 Let me pray for us as we close. Father God, I am grateful, grateful for the incredible clarity, the incredible beauty, the incredible invitation that your word lays before us. It's is so easy to get distracted by the disappointments of this life, the disappointments of the things that we often hope in, that come crumbling down around us. Lord, we want to be honest, this has been a disappointing year in many ways, and how grateful I am that you meet us in our disappointment with the beauty and the power of your word. You don't deny disappointment, you don't ask us to act like disappointments not real. No, you meet us in the midst of disappointment to show us that which will never disappoint, and you meet us in the midst of our suffering to show us that there is hope beyond our suffering. And so, Lord, I know there are some here today that have been discouraged, they've been deflated, they feel defeated, Lord. They are struggling right now. I pray in the power of your Holy Spirit that you administer to their hearts even now, and give them the faith, give them the faith to look up, to look to Jesus. To take their eyes off of all their screens, and all of their devices, and all of their news stories, and all of their social media feeds, and put their eyes on Jesus. Would you give us the faith to look to what we say we believe if we are followers of Jesus? And Lord, would you rally your church for such a time as this, to be a voice of hope, to be a picture of hope, in the midst of so much disappointment? Lord, please use us for your glory.

George Wright: 41:01 Lord, we recognize there are many among us, there are friends joining us online, there are friends in the house today who have never experienced this true hope that the Word of God reveals. They've been longing, they've been searching, they've never experienced true hope through a personal relationship with Jesus. And so I pray that today would be the day, and right now be the time, when they would say personally, Jesus, I recognize that I need the hope that you alone can provide, so today I'm stepping out on faith to trust my life to Jesus.

George Wright: 41:57 Lord, we thank you for the forgiveness of sin that comes to those who trust in you. We thank you for the grace in which we stand, for those who trust in you. We thank you for the beautiful hope, not only for today, but forever more that comes to those who trust in you. And we pray, Lord God, that we, as your church, will live in light of the hope that we have because of what Christ has done. We thank you, Lord. It's in Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206