Hope When Things Never Seem to End

The Promise Of Salvation Gives Us Hope And Strength During Hard Times.

Bryant Wright
Nov 8, 2020    43m
Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the difficult things we are facing today? This message reminds us that as followers of Jesus, we have the promise of salvation, and this should give us hope and strength during the hard times. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

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.

Bryant Wright: 00:01 It's good to be here with you at Shandon. I'm so thankful to have this time with George, Megan, and the grands, that's always an extra bonus and coming to preach here at Shandon. And you know, this is the first time I've ever been here, where it looks like a convention of bank robbers. But it's hard to know whether you're smiling, whether you're frowning at me, or what you're thinking. But as I preach at churches all over the convention now as the president of Send Relief, it's been quite an interesting experience at seeking to communicate in these days, and all of you understand that.

Bryant Wright: 00:32 I want to share just real briefly what Send Relief is. When I was retiring from Johnson Ferry, Paul Chitwood the president of The International Mission Board of our Convention, called and told me that the leader of the international end of relief for Southern Baptist was retiring, and asked me to consider coming into this new role, a full-time role in the convention. And I began to pray about, and I also began to talk to him, if they had ever considered joining with the North American Mission Board and their relief ministry, so it'd be kind of a one-stop-shop for pastors and churches in our convention. And he and Kevin Ezell at NAMB began to talk, and long story short, they decided to begin a new ministry that we're calling Send Relief, that is both international and for North America, dealing with crisis response in storms. Where most know, or have an understanding of that, is our Southern Baptist disaster relief teams go out from States all around our convention in a time of great crisis. But also in community development, poverty issues, hunger issues, experts are saying that the hunger problems, and starvation problems, in third world areas over the next year because of COVID are just going to be unprecedented. And so we're going to have an opportunity to share the love of Christ, and the gospel of Christ, as we're seeking to meet needs in those areas all around the world. But there are three other areas. And that is helping with children, especially in the areas of adoption, and foster care. Battling human trafficking, which is a worldwide problem, kind of a modern form of sex slavery. And then also ministry to refugees, not only here in the United States where refugees gather, but all around the world. So it's a huge undertaking, obviously overwhelming undertaking. But if you think of Send Relief, now, a new ministry, a relief ministry, of our convention for us to really be great commissioned Christians in taking the gospel around the world, this really opens the door and kind of wins the right to be heard, especially in hard to reach areas, with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Bryant Wright: 02:40 Today, I want to talk to you about hope, when things never seem to end, which is a time that we're definitely going through. And so I want to ask you to turn in your Bibles, if you will, to Romans chapter 8. And if you're new to Bible study, Romans is right after Acts, right before First Corinthians, in the New Testament, we're going to be looking at verses 18 through 25. And recognizing this is the Word of God, in honor of God, let's stand, if you're physically able at this time, as we read through Romans 8 beginning in verse 18. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." .

Bryant Wright: 04:25 Father, as we stand before you, it is always awesome to realize that you, the creator of the universe, is eager to communicate to us personally today through your word. So may our hearts and minds be receptive, Lord, and may you bless this great congregation here at Shandon. May you bless George in his leadership here, and what a joy to be able to preach in the pulpit where my son preaches on a regular basis, faithful to your word Sunday after Sunday, Lord, what a joy. May you bless him, the staff, the leadership, the congregation, may you use this church for the building up of your kingdom in a glorious way, in a way that brings glory and honor to you. We pray this prayer, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Bryant Wright: 05:26 This really is the year when things never seem to end. Now COVID is the obvious reason, none of us have ever faced a time like this, it is unprecedented. And it is so frustrating, when you think about all this beginning in March, I don't believe there's a person here that really imagined we would still be dealing with the depth of the COVID challenges and possibly about to enter a second wave. In light of what is going on in Europe, and other parts of the United States, it has really been one of those times where it seems like every day is Wednesday, or every day is Groundhog day all over again. And we wonder, when is it ever going to end?

Bryant Wright: 06:14 And with that comes economic challenges, we were soaring in our economy and then COVID hit, and it was like a crash in the economy. And then the economy began to build up again, and yet there were certain aspects of our economy, those of you in the entertainment area, those of you with the airlines, those of you in the restaurant and hotel businesses, there are certain occupations that have taken a huge hit from which you have not recovered. And if COVID does strike with a second wave, what is it going to be like economically, in light of all the progress that has been made in recovery? It's like these economic uncertainties never seem to end.

Bryant Wright: 06:56 And then there's the area of racial injustice and racial tension. You know, back with the just awful killing of George Floyd, and what was really kind of a modern day lynching in South Georgia with a young black jogger out just jogging, by the name of Aubrey. It's like I was taken back to the 1960s in the civil rights movement, and then when riots began to break out, and then when an anarchy began to take place in cities. And I just was taken back to the 60s, thinking when in the world are the racial tensions and injustices ever going to end, it's just like it's unending.

Bryant Wright: 07:35 But that's not all, think about this season, think about the storms this season and the hurricanes. We have already gone through the English alphabet, naming every tropical storm or hurricane. Now we're in the Greek alphabet, only people in fraternities and sororities even understand the names, and it seems to be unending. I mean, imagine this many storms in one season. I was down in Lake Charles, Louisiana, it was literally like planes had dropped bomb after bomb, on strip shopping center after strip shopping center and building, around Lake Charles. Now the news covered it two or three days, but those poor people are going to be dealing with that for years.

Bryant Wright: 08:21 But not only that as we think about things that never end, think about elections. Now, it seems the elections are a full-time occupation for a lot of folks, but all of us longing for November 3rd to finally have some decision and all that ends, and it doesn't end. Now it seems like Joe Biden is our president elect by all indication, and yet in Georgia, we've got two more races for the U S Senate that doesn't end till January 5th. Can you imagine, y'all pray for us in Georgia, all those commercials for the next two months. Oh my goodness, it's going to be brutal.

Bryant Wright: 08:56 And it's like, we just face one thing after another, that never seems to end. So how do we find hope in the midst of this? Well, how did things get like this? It was not always this way. If you go back to the beginning in Genesis 1 and 2, you see an amazing picture, a beautiful picture. You see complete harmony on the face of the earth. You see a situation where everything that God has created is good, and the animals all get along, there's no one animal killing another animal. Man and the animals had a great relationship, there was no such thing as wild animals. Man was able to experience the perfect marriage, the only perfect marriage in all of history. Man had the perfect job, man had the perfect place to live, it was incredible. And then man sinned, and in Genesis 3, we need to understand the origin of what we're dealing with this today, dealing with today in 2020, it all goes back to original sin. Now think about what happened in Genesis 3, as original sin occurred for the first time in all of history, man felt separated from God for the first time. And not only did man feel separated from God, but then man was spiritually dead, and began a slow process of physical death.

Bryant Wright: 10:39 I heard one of the preschoolers, hearing about Adam and Eve in the Sunday school classes at Johnson Ferry this year, came home and told his parents, you know, that Adam and Eve were idiots. They said, why do you say that? COVID, COVID, we wouldn't have COVID if it wasn't for Adam and Eve. I said, well, he's got a good theological understanding, sickness and death came from original sin. But think about what else came, for the first time, man experienced shame and guilt. And then you had the first coverup of sin, as man is so prone to do to lie and cover up about bad things we have done, not wanting anyone to know, especially God.

Bryant Wright: 11:20 And then out of that cover-up, you come into this era right there in Genesis 3 with Adam and Eve, that is the beginning of the victimization mindset, the blame game. And Oh my goodness, we live in a culture that is eaten up with the victimization mindset, always somebody else to blame, somebody else's fault for the problems that we have. Then you see the battle of the sexes beginning right there in Genesis 3, and the tension between Adam and Eve. And then you see the futility of work, the harder that Adam works and what has been the perfect job, the harder he works the more futile it seems, and the less results he has. And just a preview of the famines, and the depressions, and the economic uncertainties, that would haunt man for all mankind. And I also just sense that when man's sinned for the first time, this is just spiritual imagination, I know, but for the first time within the animal kingdom, there was a shutter of fear, and animals had never experienced that before. And suddenly there was a fear of man, and the beginning of wild animals, and we know it goes all the way back to Genesis 3.

Bryant Wright: 12:33 Now, understanding that let's look to see how the Word of God speaks to us here in November of 2020. In speaking to this situation, look at verse 19 of Romans chapter 8, "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God." Now, most of you I know are followers of Christ, but many of you are not. Because in every church in the South, you're going to have a lot of cultural Christians that think they're Christian, say they're Christian, they believe what the Bible says, but they've never really trusted Christ. And then you're going to have some people that are literally clear that they're not a follower of Christ. But I really believe that both Christians and non-Christians can eagerly accept what verse 19 is talking about. There's an anxious, longing within the creation, and those who are not Christian do not realize it's about so that we can be connected with God as a child of God, there's just this inner fear, this inner sense of anxiety, this inner restlessness and emptiness, and many people deal with depression because there is a longing that something within the creation is out of whack. And even if you're a non-believer, you just sense that something is out of whack.

Bryant Wright: 13:52 Verse 20, "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it." Now, understand what the scripture is telling us, all of creation. In other words, not just mankind, but the animal kingdom, all of the environment, it was all subjected to futility because of the sin of man. Animals didn't cause this, the environment didn't cause this, it is man that caused this. And in the process, there is a sense of futility that has engulfed all of creation, and we're subject to it. Because of that slavery to sin, there is a sense of being subject to a sense of futility.

Bryant Wright: 14:38 And then it goes on to verse 21, "The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Now, once again, even though those who are not followers of Christ do not realize what they are longing for is a picture of what could be described as the glory of God in all of his creation, by creation being redeemed. But we do know from what verse 20 and 21 is talking about, that there is this longing to be set free from corruption. Now, and think about how mankind has dealt with this many times in history, think about our own revolutionary war. Really, we became a nation because there was such concern about the corruption of King George the third in England. And thankfully, some of our brilliant geniuses of forefathers had the insight to understand enough about man's sinfulness, to have this balance of power in what they developed within our constitution, thankfully for that. But there was this longing that man could set about a new type of society, a democratic Republic, that would end the corruption. It didn't end it though.

Bryant Wright: 15:55 And then you think about the French revolution, they went about things a bit differently, a few years later than the American revolution because they wanted to blame God and blame the church, and so they'd sought to go in a totally secular society. And there was an idea of we're going to end the corruption that we have seen in all these institutions, and the violence, and the guillotines, that happened there in France was horrific.

Bryant Wright: 16:21 Think about 1917, what happened in Russia? And there was this vision that if society could just become Marxists, that it could battle the corruption of the affluent, and the kings, and the aristocrats, and there would be this forced equality for all mankind. And think about how all that worked out, it was the colossal failure of the 20th century.

Bryant Wright: 16:45 And then think about what is happened even later, think about when Adolf Hitler came on the scene. He had a vision of the Third Reich; it was going to be great for all of Europe. It led to the death of over 50 million people, of which over 7 million Jews were slaughtered, in one of the grossest, most heinous acts in all of history. But the whole idea was to bring about the perfect society, to end the corruption of what has been seen in the past.

Bryant Wright: 17:19 And think about America today, the dominant ideology in America today is no longer a Judeo-Christian ethic as it was so much of our history. Not that everybody was Christian, not that everybody had to adhere to it, but it was this accepted etiology and cultural mindset of America. But now that's not the case, that is a minority view. The dominant view in America today is called political correctness, and the motive is good it's to end discrimination. But it winds up becoming a culture of shame, and a culture of guilt, and a culture of cancellation, and a culture with absolutely no forgiveness, if man does not adhere to man's new man-made rules.

Bryant Wright: 18:08 But all the while, all these movements in history had this mindset that we've got to end the corruption that is occurred in the creation, we've got to be set free of that, and you understand it. That's why in almost every presidential election, there is this grotesque mindset that takes hold in the culture, even within the church, that if we elect the right guy, he's going to solve all of our problems. It never does work out that way though, we still have massive corruption in our culture.

Bryant Wright: 18:45 And so look at what God's Word is saying, verse 22, "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now." Now what is Paul doing? Paul is taking a vivid imagery that Jesus teaches us in Matthew 24 verses 4 through 8. We're not going to take time to read it, but the disciples asked Jesus about the signs of his coming, and he began to give them signs of false messiahs, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, and then natural disasters. And I think among the natural disasters, you could even include pandemics, and Jesus talks about these signs being like birth pains.

Bryant Wright: 19:23 Now, when I was preaching here in 2017, about three years ago, and we studied that passage. And I had to confess to you that I said probably the stupidest thing in the history of earth, when my wife Anne was in labor with George. Because you see, we man don't know all the intricacies and details of labor pains, like those who are giving birth, women here have a much better understanding of that. And I shared with you how when Anne was in labor, serious labor, those birth pains were intensifying. I had been taught in our Lamaze class to be rubbing her back the whole time to help, you know, help her. And after doing that for about an hour and a half, I turned to Anne and I said, this rubbing your back is wearing me out. And I want you to know, you'll see Anne around here, beautiful lady, smile, it will be lovely smile, lovely lady. But I mean, she gave me some dagger eyes at that time that I'd never seen in our married life, because it was a stupidest statement in the history of earth, so insensitive.

Bryant Wright: 20:22 But those of you who've given birth, you know, that labor pains are very irregular. Some of you didn't even realize you were going into labor, things just felt a little funny, and then the labor pains become more regular and they become more intense, the closer you get to the birth of the child. And yet, here's what's so amazing that every person who has become a mother here could understand. There is something almost miraculous that occurs when that child is born, and you're holding that new baby, and the joy of that new life that you had brought into the world, then the labor pains begin to be forgotten amidst the joy of the new life you've been given. And that's what Jesus was saying to his disciples in Matthew 24, and that is what Paul is referring to, it is all a referral to what it's going to be like when Christ finally comes for his church, we're going to face tough times before that time comes, and the intensity of that is going to get greater and greater and greater and even more regular. But then when Christ comes for his church, there's going to be incredible joy, and jubilation, and thanksgiving, to where all of that will soon be forgotten. In realizing that Christ is at last come to bring order, and harmony, and justice, and peace, here on earth. In understanding that, we recognize what Paul is saying, creation groans, and suffers the pains of childbirth. What is groaning? It's a deep agony and pain of childbirth, but it's also a deep agony that so many of you feel when life doesn't go as you have in mind, and we understand that. If you live life any length of time, you understand that.

Bryant Wright: 22:13 So where is the hope in this? Well go back to verse 18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Principle number one, are you listening? Listen now, are you listening? For the Christian, for the follower of Jesus, whatever hardship we face, whatever suffering we face, whatever difficulty we face, is all temporal, it doesn't last forever. You say, well, if the person dies, that's not temporary. For the Christian, when we die, we enter the presence of God in heaven, we have a gift call eternal life. For every Christian, all suffering is temporal. But for the non-Christian, it's not, because for the non-Christian when you die still separated from God because of your sin and had never claimed salvation in Jesus Christ, then the suffering is eternal. And that's something everyone here wants to avoid, and you can avoid, through repentant faith in Jesus Christ. But we see this reminder, right from the beginning of this section of Romans 8, that whatever suffering we face, it is nothing compared to the glory of eternal life with the Lord. That's principle number one.

Bryant Wright: 23:33 But let's get down to verse 23, "And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Now look, there's a lot in this verse, look at what verse 23 is saying. You see, when we come to Christ, we receive what is called the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. And when a person comes to Christ and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit gives us fruit. That fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, you can read about it in Galatians 5 verses 22 and 23. And basically the fruit of the spirit is enabling us by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by determination, not by our own personal strength, but the power of God's spirit living within us to become more and more like Jesus in spirit and in character. We receive the fruit of the spirit when we come to Jesus Christ, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Bryant Wright: 24:33 But even then, look at what it says in verse 23, "Even then we ourselves groan within ourselves." Now, why do we groan? Well, we grown because of our own sin, because we're going to still battle our sin nature, all the way to the end of our life. And sometimes we do things that we're totally disgusted about because we make sinful decisions, and we groan because of that. You know, when I was at Carolina, one of the great blessings of going through a difficult time, my sophomore year, when I was really struggling. You know, I worried, maybe I might commit the unforgivable sin, or what is the unforgivable sin, and just having a lot of confusion about all that. But I came to Romans 7, the chapter right before this. And here's this giant of the faith, the greatest missionary and theologian in the history of the church, the Apostle Paul. And in chapter 7 of Romans verse 14 and following, he is basically saying, and let me paraphrase for you. He is basically saying, dang, I did it again. That's really what he's saying, over and over again. Now here's this giant of the faith, and he's lamenting and groaning about his own sin. And I just can't tell you, when I was a college student, how much comfort that gave me.

Bryant Wright: 25:52 And then you read on into Romans 8, and the end of the chapter, about the love of God, and the love of Christ, that we'll never lose. We'll never lose, he's going to love us no matter what. And I realized, yes, we groan in this life because we still struggle with our sin, but we also groan in this life because of the sins of others. Whether it's reading in the news, or watching the news, or listening to the news, and just seeing the horrific evil, and sins in our world, or whether it's just sins within our family, or sins at work, or sins at school, and they're so evident in the lives of other people, we groan at times. Because this world just ain't as we're longing this world to be, there is just so much about it that distresses us, and at times it is so distressing that we just literally are groaning within ourselves. And that is what the Apostle Paul is talking about in verse 23. He said, we ourselves having the first fruits of the spirit, that is the beautiful thing we receive, but we still groan within ourselves because we're waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and the redemption of our body.

Bryant Wright: 26:54 Now what's the redemption of our body? Well, the fact is, I hope you understand this, but all of you are dying. You're dying. I'm sorry to have to tell you that, but you're dying. Now, some of you are going to live longer than others, but everybody here is dying. We're dying because sin has poisoned our body, we're all in the process of moving towards physical death. And recognizing that, the promises of scripture is, that when Jesus returns for his church, and the rapture of the church occurs, that you could read about in First Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 through 17, we receive at that point, a new body, a resurrected body, like Jesus. And here's what's so cool, it's a body that never gets coronavirus, it's a body that never gets sick, it's a body that never gets dead, ever.

Bryant Wright: 27:50 Now, I've often wondered. I don't know, maybe you've figured this out, but I've wondered. That new resurrected body, I mean, Jesus' resurrected body looked different from the body before he died on the cross. You know, that his disciples were even slow to recognize him, so it was different, but it was still Jesus. So what is that resurrected body going to be like? I've often wondered, kind of, what's the parallel age? I'm in my sixties, I hope it's not a body in my sixties, I just hope it's not that. I mean the aches and pains I feel every morning, I just, I hope it's not in the sixties. Some of you in the eighties and nineties, you just, oh business, you don't want that. I hope it's 25, 30 kind of in that timeframe, with no sickness, no kind of struggle that causes us to suffer and have pain. The redemption of the body is a promise that gives us great hope, that one day all this sickness and suffering will be over for the followers of Jesus Christ, and we get to have a body like Jesus, that never gets sick and never dies. Now, if that doesn't give you some hope, I don't know what will.

Bryant Wright: 28:56 But that is not all, look at verse 24, "For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." Now, the hope of salvation, think about it. When you hear the Gospel, the good news of Christ, you don't personally get to see Christ in the flesh, like the disciples that walked with him here on this earth. You know about it because of the teaching of the Word of God, the written Word of God, to reveal to us what the gospel is so that we can know of the ultimate hope we have in Jesus. And what is the gospel? The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and Christ rose from the dead, that is the gospel. And because Christ died for our sins, it means that we have to make a decision of acknowledgement, that we are sinners desperately in need of a savior to save us from our sin nature that leads to death, and to save us not only from sin nature, but from death itself, and from hell itself. And so the good news of the gospel is acknowledging that because of our sin, we need a savior, and claiming that savior, and accepting that savior, and then we receive these gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the gift of eternal life. Because Christ Rose from the dead, we get to conquer death as well. So even though we don't see this, and we don't get to see heaven on this side of heaven, and even though we don't understand all about what that's going to be like. We live with the hope of the promises of God that gives us salvation, and because of that hope, something that we can't see with our physical eyes, then we find the strength to persevere and to keep on keeping on in this world where there is so much corruption, and where all of creation is groaning day in and day out, longing for something better than what we're experiencing here. And when we understand that in Jesus Christ, then we have the strength, the courage, the stick-to-itiveness, to persevere in this life, persevere in following the will of God, persevere in sharing the good news of Christ with others who need to experience what we've experienced in him, to persevere in carrying out the will of God, in a world that is hell bent on going the opposite of the will of God, it gives us a strength to persevere in that hope.

Bryant Wright: 31:46 So, think about what this hope means, think about what it means. It means that at death, we have the promise of heaven and eternal life with the Lord. When a person dies, their soul is instantly with the Lord in heaven, we don't receive a new resurrected body until Christ returns for his church shortly before his second coming. But in Christ, the moment we die, our soul is still alive with the Lord in heaven, and that is a tremendous hope. But secondly, as we've seen in this passage, we also have the hope of a redemptive body, a body that never gets sick, and never dies, that is a glorious hope. And for those of you who have loved ones that are facing chronic illness, prolonged illness, for those of you who are facing chronic illness, or injuries, or hardship, just think about the incredible hope of knowing one day those aches and pains are going to be over with. And one day we never have to worry about physical suffering and death again, that will be glorious.

Bryant Wright: 32:55 But that's not all, this hope also helps us recognize that when Jesus comes for his church, and then there's that great wedding feast in heaven in celebration of the completion of the work of the church, and getting the gospel to every people group on the face of the earth, there's also the anticipation the church has of returning with Christ. And when Christ comes again, he will come in judgment, in judgment on the antichrist, and the false prophets, and on the mega millions and millions who have rejected him, and are following the antichrist as their chosen leader. And understanding this, it gives us hope to know that one day all the corruption, and all the injustice, and all the evil, of this world is going to be done away with when Christ comes again to reign from his throne in Jerusalem, over all the earth, I hope that gives you hope, to understand what we have to look forward to. But that is not all, we also have the hope of a world at last...Now, listen, are you listening? Are you listening? At last, in complete harmony with one another, creation at last.

Bryant Wright: 34:09 I want to give you a vision of it, it's not my vision, it's the vision through the Word of God and the prophet Isaiah. Turn back to the old covenant, if you're new to Bible study, it's about halfway into the Bible, in the old covenant, Isaiah chapter 11. Just listen to these verses of what it's going to be like here on earth when Christ comes again, and begins to reign over earth, and the church, and the redeemed Israel, is going to be his administrators of carrying out a kingdom of justice and peace here on earth. Listen to what the Word of God says, it's going to be extraordinary. Verse 6 of chapter 11 of Isaiah, "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, (how about that) and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse (That is Jesus, that's a prophecy of the Messiah coming from the root of Jesse.) who will stand as a signal for the peoples and his resting place there in Jerusalem will be glorious over all the earth." Can you imagine? Now, I know some of you who are hunters, it kind of gives you the heebie-jeebies to think that no more killings going to occur. But it's also wonderful to think about the fact that when national geographic or discovery channel gives you a picture of the animal kingdom, and you see lions killing weaker animals out there, and they say, it's just the natural order, it's the way things are supposed to be. You need to scream at the television and say, no, it is not, because when God created all of creation, all of creation, including all of the animal kingdom, was in harmony, there was no killing whatsoever. And when Christ comes again, even the animal kingdom in the creation is going to recognize things are different, and the killing of animals with animals is over at that time.

Bryant Wright: 36:25 But that's not all turn to the prophet Micah, Micah is one of the great minor prophets, they are only minor because they're short winded compared to the major prophets, but look at Micah chapter 4. Micah chapter 4, look at verse 2 of Micah 4, just a few books over in the minor prophets, turn to Micah chapter 4, verse 2, "Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD." What's the mountain of the Lord? Well, Jerusalem's on the top of a mountain that is called Zion, Mount Zion. "And to the house of the God of Jacob, (that is Israel) that He may teach us about His ways." Speaking of Jesus, the Messiah, our savior. "That we may walk in His path." In other words, the Word of God will be once again in the flesh for us to hear with our own ears, "For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." And listen to this, listen, "And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations." And listen to this, "Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war." Folks, when you see these poor folks in Seattle and Portland, setting up what they want to have as a utopia led by a man. And no acknowledgement of sin in doing that, which is so ludicrous, and so pollyannish, bless their hearts. The only time that the world is going to experience this kind of utopia, and peace, is when Jesus comes, that's the only time. There's not going to be a political leader all the way through the anti-Christ, who's going to be able to bring about what only Jesus can bring about. And can you imagine living in a world where you no longer read about wars and rumors of wars, you no longer hear about all the killings in the streets of our cities on Saturday night, or any of the night, you don't hear about that anymore because all the weapons have been turned into tools. It will be glorious.

Bryant Wright: 38:43 So as we think about this, just realize today, that the reason creation groans, and the reason all of us are facing this stretch in our life, when it seems some things are never going to end. We can have hope of knowing, one, while the problems of here it is man's sin that has caused that. And secondly, we can have hope of knowing that as we just innately know, as both the non-Christian and the Christian innately knows, things just ain't as they're supposed to be. In Jesus, we know that one day things are at last going to be, as we long for it to be. It will be wonderful, and this is why God sent his son in the first place. For, in spite of our sin, he loves you and me so much, he sent his son to die in our place, to pay the penalty we should pay, the judgment of God in death. He sent his son so that we could be reconciled to him, and so that we could begin to receive the spirit of the Lord, and we could begin that process of becoming more and more like Christ in spirit and character. And we could be a light to this broken world where creation groans constantly, to show them the ultimate answer is in Jesus.

Bryant Wright: 40:03 As we see this, and look at God's Word, it's just a reminder today that all of us, amidst this season when things never seem to end, that we need to have hope through trusting Jesus, through following Jesus, and through living with the hope of the promises of the Word of God, of what is to come. Because just as distressed as we get in our groaning because of man's sin, our own and others, it is going to be far more glorious than any of us here can even grasp, when Jesus comes again for his church. And at last, things here on earth, and in our lives, are what we all long for it to be. Don't miss it. Don't miss it.

Bryant Wright: 41:13 Let's pray. Father God, what a crazy year we've all experienced, so many ways to be discouraged, and depressed, and anxious, and fearful, things so out of whack. But, Lord, thank you for the hope that we find in your word, thank you for the hope that is found in Jesus.

Bryant Wright: 41:40 And, Lord, I pray for that person that may be far from you, or knows for sure they don't have a relationship with you or one of those classic cultural Christians, maybe a member of this church, maybe a leader in this church, knows the Bible, believes the Bible is true, but has never really come to trust you with their heart and their life. May this be the day they say, Lord, I see the big picture now. I've been groaning about either my sin, or other people's sins, and the world not being as it's supposed to be, and having all these ideas of how it could be, and yet I see, you've got this. I want to follow Jesus, I want to trust Jesus, I want to recognize today that I need a savior, may that happen. Father, right now where the person is seated, where the person is viewing online, may they say to you, Lord, I need Jesus.

Bryant Wright: 42:37 And, Lord, for those of us that are followers of Christ, may we live with this hope, Father, what incredible hope because of Jesus, because of the promises of your word. Holy Spirit, may you fill every believer right now with a fresh sense of your spirit, and in the process may that believer, wherever they're living, whatever they're dealing with, whatever hardship they're facing, whatever disillusionment with creation they're experiencing, that they're able to leave this place with a new sense of hope because of Jesus. We pray this prayer, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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