Steadfast Endurance of Hope

Faith, Love, Hope  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
A bored and seasick passenger enters the deck of the ship and confronts the captain with a beloved phrase of travelling people everywhere
“Are we there yet?”
An annoying question considering every direction is water.
No land, no seagulls, no whales, no fish, only a dull sky with water in all directions.
The captain could answer “We get there when we get there”
He could explain the navigation system based upon the longitude and latitude, and where they are on the GPS system
He could show the compass of which is the direction they are going
Instead, the captain shows a picture of a beach.
He tells him about the sand, he has the passenger imagine the pineapples, and tells him where the best shrimp spot can be found at a food truck along a beachside road.
The passenger came in looking help in their journey and left with hope.
Hope is a unique virtue of Christian life. Of the three we are talking about Faith, Love, and Hope. Hope is the most elusive because it works in the tension of the now and the not yet. Sometimes it feels like the forgotten little sister.
We always have a hope of some sort in us
We hope for journeys to end.
We hope for political leaders
We hope for financial security.
We hope for no recessions
We hope for sick people to heal
We hope for family holidays to not be messy
We hope for wars to end
We hope for the good
The 16th century reformer Martin Luther said it this way “Everything that is done in this world is done by hope”
Hope is fundamental to how we think and look at our world and its future. Whether it is hope placed well or hope lacking, hope is our friend or an enemy.
Steadfastness of Hope, it’s a unique phrase in Scripture, only mentioned here in 1 Thess 1:2-5 which is found on Page 159. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers
3 constantly bearing in mind (remembering what joined us together in community by Dave Peterson) your work of faith (Mark Longbrake spoke on continuous work of faith towards each other) and labor of love (Agape labor of love towards each other as Christ set the conditions of how to love well)
and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,
4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
We will take our lead this morning from the captain to unfold a look at:
1) Are we there yet? In understanding hope
2) What is Already? Where we get our hope
3) What is Not Yet? What do we really hope in
“Are we there yet?”
That wonderful road trip phrase
We all ask it when we have one common place. Struggle.
We don’t want to be there anymore, whether a car, a plane, a gas station, or the boring road.
The struggle with boredom.
The struggle changes when the situation changes.
Instead of a car, it is an intense hike up a mountain “are we there yet” is no longer a question of boredom but physical endurance and pain.
Instead of a road trip car, it’s now an ambulance “are we there yet” is now desperation and struggle of life and death.
We look at an empty bank account with a growing stack of red letters saying “Bill overdue” we ask “are we there yet? Is now a question of losing security of
“Are we there yet?” It’s no longer a silly question it’s a question of hope.
Some of us may be there today. Feeling like Hope isn’t a secure place, it’s the desperate “Are we there yet?”
If we just had the job, the healing, the right relationship, enough strength, or could keep myself from that sin. It would all be there.
Hope is running in us, but it’s the wrong hope.
Hope is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking for a Christian.
The world’s version of hope is faint, escape or wishes.
It moves from one reward to the next reward.
Today I hope for $100 tomorrow I hope for $1000.
Today I hope for no fights, tomorrow I hope for a better relationship.
This hope is a kite, subject to the winds of change.
We had Dave Callaghan for Coffee & Conversations a few weeks ago, in it he shared the types of false comfort and false hope people would share during real grief of family loss.
False hopes like “heaven has another angel” or “I know what you’re going through because my grandma died a few years ago”
False hope built upon platitudes and wishful thinking
In fact, Ancient Greek Philosophers didn’t see hope as virtue as something good, it was a Vice and evil. It was a temporary illusion creating evil not good.
Eastern religions do the same, hope is not good or evil, it is an illusion, all things are equal, they are just equally dumb and terrible.
What is terror for the fly, is joy for the spider. Hope is the thing for both and has no meaning for either.
The Apostle Paul agreed with his ancient counterparts on hope when he wrote
Eph 2:12
12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Remember the hopelessness of attempting to find our hope in circumstances, rewards and self-perception
If we are using the wrong instruments to find our hope, Hope becomes an evil.
The captain of the ship, he was able to calm his passenger and give them hope in the destination.
But if his instruments are wrong. The GPS is going towards the wrong destination. The compass is faulty. Or the number are inaccurate for fuel and distance.
No amount of enduring patient hope will help him get to his destination.
They are not on a cruise; they are a tragedy.
When hope is apart from God, it is more of a vice and no amount of endurance is helpful.
The instrument of hope has been misaligned.
We have disregarded the good instruction of doing love in labor together, our work of faith in motion, and replaced it with a steadfast hope of plucky feelings.
Our faith could be good, our labor could be right, but our hope our instruments of navigation are leading us towards a tragedy.
Thomas Aquinas of the 12th century revealed four false idols: wealth, power, pleasure, and honor which can reveal when our instrument of hope is wrongly tuned.
To give a quick test on this
1) Hope in Wealth is shown by our satisfaction. It tells us that when one hopeful reward ends, we start a new one. The next white rabbit.
2) Hope in Power is shown by bargains. We want power or fear losing it, so we bargain with God to keep power. Instead of God as our strength, we are our strength; it all depends on how strong I am and how much I can control the people and circumstances around me.
3) Hope in Pleasure is revealed by time, where we spend our time to ‘get better’ or who or what is worth our time.
a. Pleasure dictates our time spent where we spend our time, where we show up or fail to show.
b. Hope is indicated by action, action is obvious or inaction towards community, each other, and flourishing.
4) Hope in honor is shown by our emotions.
a. We look for honor from our peers, family, social media, or work
b. But, when we aren’t honored, our emotion breaks us down to see it is empty, so we lash out or suppress. Hope in honor is revealed by our emotions and how we conduct ourselves. Emotionalism or stoicism are same currency of the wrong hope.
How to align our instruments?
Paul attaches Hope with patience in 1 Thess 1:3 “a Steadfastness / Patient enduring of Hope”
Patient endurance of trials. Paul is not focused on “are we there yet” He is focusing on what is Already.
The Hope of the Already.
Endurance inspired by Hope of the Already allows us to be steadfast in any difficulty.
The captain must trust his instruments to measure his navigation for both hope and the journey to be valuable.
Wealth, pleasure, power, illusions, emotions, or self-help will not give true hope they are faulty instruments.
Hope is not a circumstance or perception change in the Bible.
Hope is a Person.
Hope is Jesus.
Eph 2:13-14 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Already He is our Peace, our peace is not in the maybe things change. Our peace is in the Already here.
Already, He has come as a suffering servant as Jacob said last week in
Phil 2:7“but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” setting aside his power for us the sake of us.
Already we are saved by Grace in Him
Eph 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Already he has died, with Him sin died, and with Him He rose to Life, Already He gave us Life
We are already found justified to be saved in Jesus’ actions and sacrifice.
Already it is done, as Jesus said on the cross “It is Done”
Paul is saying this word of a steadfast hope in Jesus to the Thessalonian church,
In our culture we are worried and alarmed by various government or popular culture views.
What we fear, is Thessalonian reality.
Property was being seized. Workers were stopped from practicing their trades. Those who found a new faith were shunned by their families. Some were insulted, some beaten, and some put to death. They were experiencing suffering of the worst kind.
Steadfast Hope in the Already done of work of Jesus is the strength of those in suffering.
Hope with Jesus is a soldier’s strength. A courage and strength, a steadfast patience in all types of danger.
Hebrews 6:19-20 says it this way
19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Hope is not a kite, with the winds of circumstances and a plucky self-confidence of endurance from within.
Hope is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast upon Him.
Not because we entered anything, but because Jesus already did it. Upon this Hope is built and Hope comes from asking.
Hope comes from asking the King of King to remind us of what He already did.
We need reminding and even today we struggle.
Or I do.
Knowing Jesus saved me in the past doesn’t always reach my present reality.
I want this Hope of Christ to be an ever-present reality but stopping the doomsday thought spirals or when family is in danger.
I wrote this on a day when 100 missiles from Russia struck across Ukraine attempting to kill and freeze people for a war ongoing for 276 days as of today. Ukraine can’t take a fake peace talk from a Russian army who is bent on their death with no respect for borders or people.
Hope for a better future continues but in the light of suffering. Hope seems to dim sometimes.
When hope seems to dim, it’s the suffering that shows us the truth of what our future hope is to be.
The Future Hope of “Not Yet”
The captain in our story rightly approached the passenger who was asking about the “are we there yet” by finding the motivation. The already has happened. Already the ship has left the port. Already Christ has died and rose again.
The answer to the passenger and to us is the destination of true Hope.
The captain showed pictures of the destination and reminded him of experiences that haven’t happened.
The beach, pineapples, shrimp, and sun haven’t happened yet, but the passenger knows they are good.
Christ return, his conquest over ultimate death and sin, hasn’t happened yet but we know it to be good.
Faith and Love are powerful pieces of the Christian life, Hope is the binding rope and motivation of them both.
It’s not the little sister, it’s the guiding star.
In the Christian life and the Bible, Hope is the Person of Jesus himself whether his coming in as Messiah of Israel or return and Heaven where we are united with Him.
The eternal world of Heaven’s hope realized. A hope without missiles, sin, death, sickness, Satan, and all that divides us.
Not because of the goodness of mankind, but the goodness of God.
We talked about in Jr High a bit ago. Heaven isn’t about the pearly gates and rewards. It’s about Jesus
CS Lewis quote “There is no need to be worried by the people who try to make Christian hope of “heaven” ridiculous by saying they do not want “to spend eternity play harps” the answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scripture imagery (harps, crowns, gold) are merely symbolic attempts to express the inexpressible”
The inexpressible union of a perfect destination with a perfect God and Savior who knows all the best food places.
All Christians have felt a taste of Jesus and that Kingdom.
It’s strong enough to work through conflict as we work our faith, to stick together in community labor of love, as we do ministry together here at BE Free.
A taste is all we have.
1 John 3:2 “2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
We will one day see Him just as He is, The Lion, the Lamb, the Lord of all Creation, and together we dwell with him.
He will one day show Himself but here is the tension of the Already but Not Yet.
Already He is good, but we are not fully in that good.
The tension we feel, the pull between despair and hope.
It’s not an accident, it’s the Already and Not Yet tension.
Already Jesus has saved us from death and sin, but not yet is death and sin gone from our world.
Hope is for the moment in between already and not yet.
We can never be fully satisfied with our work on earth or the state of the world around us because we are not yet with Jesus in Heaven.
Lewis said “It is since Christian have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in” aim at earth and you will get neither”
When we focus our hope on heaven of being with Jesus, we become effective to love one another in steadfast hope because no amount of conflict can be measured against the goodness of our God.
It is asking Jesus to be our Hope, whether in our personal lives or life as a body of believers.
Prayer meetings on Monday and Wednesday evening are a great place to be together in asking Jesus to be our Hope.
We as believers are looking forward to Jesus’ return, the story of Christmas is a reminder that He already came.
The entire OT is looking at Israel’s hope of Messiah
Over the next few weeks in December, we will be looking at Jesus the Messiah as our Hope.
We lit our Candle of Hope, Hope will be our guide over the next few weeks in December.
In the Gospel of Luke both Mary and Zechariah were looking with Hope to the coming Messiah to see Him for the first time which will lead us to the Birth of Jesus on Dec 25th
Hope is a Person, and His name is Jesus.
To see Jesus for the first time or the million times stirs Hope, Faith, and Love in any believer.
A glimpse of Jesus is all we have and that is more than enough to drive us towards faith, hope, and love in Him. If we can help see a glimpse of Jesus let’s not look away.
Join us this holiday as we look at to Jesus coming for the first time this Christmas
Join us in the Already. But Not Yet tension instead of “Are we there yet”
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more