2 Corinthians 1:6-10
“If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction that came to us in the province of Asia; we were utterly weighed down beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, we had accepted within ourselves the sentence of death, that we might trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He rescued us from such great danger of death, and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope [that] he will also rescue us again.”
I’ve learned so much from listening to a sermon about hope in the face of afflictions, so I’m sharing the key points here.
- There’s so much noise in the world, get your information from the source. What is your source – the internet? Or are you rooted in God’s Word?
- Be excited to hear the Word of God (after all, we’re exposed to too many other words the rest of the day)
- Don’t be misinformed – the hope that we believe in didn’t come cheap – it came at a price, paid by Christ.
- Do not be ignorant of afflictions. Know the difference between confidence and complacency. St Paul wanted them to know what he was going through.
- God has been with you for so many years, why not 1 more year? You can only say that with hope when you know where that hope comes from. Not if you have only heard about hope.
- Represent the kingdom of God and say “I believe He will deliver me again.”
- Let God be the source of your hope. This is hope given from heaven, not from earth. Set your hope on God, who is above all.
- Be concerned but not nervous. Burdened but not nervous. Broken, devastated, but at peace. You do all you can but there’s a certain element that you have to hand over to God. St Paul said he was utterly burdened, beyond his strength and despaired of life itself. But he had a strong hope in God.
- This is what sets us apart as the people of God – that we can know how bad it is and not be nervous. If we get nervous, what hope is there? If we become like the world, if we lose our salt, if one thing / situation can threaten us, then what is the distinction of our Christian faith?
Examples from the bible:
- David vs. Goliath – “The same LORD who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” – 1 Samuel 17:37
I know he’s big, I know everyone’s waiting for someone else to do something. I know he’s strong. I know I only have a sling and a few rocks. I know I am just a shepherd, not a ranked soldier. But if I have faith, I can do it.
- Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego vs. Nebuchadnezzar at the fiery furnace – “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand” – Daniel 3:17
There’s a situation in front of you that’s too hot. The God we serve is able to deliver us from the fire.
- Daniel in the lions’ den – “My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not hurt me.” – Daniel 6:23
Don’t you see the dangerous lions in front of you? But he said, somehow the God I serve will deliver me. Be not afraid.
- Jesus feeds the 5000 – “But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me.” – Matthew 14:22-23
I know there are many people here who are hungry, but I’m not nervous. If you put what little you have in my hands, everyone is going to be fed. Intimidated? No.
- Jesus calms the storm – “He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.” – Matthew 8:26
They asked Jesus, how can you sleep in the storm? With one word, the creator can ask the storm to be calm.
- Jesus in front of Pilate – “But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.” – Matthew 27:14
They want to kill you, don’t you want to say something? No I don’t need to. I am the Word, I was there in the beginning, I am Alpha and Omega, this is the reason I came.
I’M NOT NERVOUS, I‘VE GOT A PURPOSE. GOD HAS A PLAN. I’M HERE TO GLORIFY GOD, IN A STORM, IN A LION’S DEN, IN A GRAVE, IN A FIRE.
Set your eyes on the One who is higher. Say to God: You are the source of strength, the strength of my life, I lift my hands in total praise to you.
Psalm 121 is a song of ascents, historically sung by pilgrims making their way to Jerusalem. They needed a song to sing on the journey, so do we. Your destination is where your peace is, where your hope is.
When Jeremiah saw God in a vision, God was seated on the throne, not pacing around.
For there to be shade, there must be heat. For there to be hope, there must be hardships. How can you know that God will deliver you if you don’t know that He can? And how can you know that He can if there are no difficulties to face and run to him seeking refuge.
The Lord is on your right hand, walking with you, no matter which way it goes.
We have the same hope, that is an anchor for your soul, Lord Jesus is with you. The hope that went rock bottom and still rose to life eternal, to reign forever. I know who I believe in, and His name is Jesus.
“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; or your guardian to sleep.
Behold, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night. The Lord will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever.”
Full video here: