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August 9, 2020 1:00 am
In a recent year, almost 37,000 Americans saw no way out of their misery, and then committed suicide. These people had one thing in common: they lost all hope that things could get better. They saw ending life as the only alternative. One of the great blessings God confers on those who believe in Jesus is hope: a hope that Paul says “does not disappoint.”Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
In a recent year almost 37,000 Americans saw no way out of their misery and then committed suicide. These people had one thing in common.
They lost all hope that things could get better. They saw ending life as the only alternative. One of the great blessings God confers on those who believe in Jesus is hope hope that Paul says does not disappoint from Chicago. We welcome you to The Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Today we continue a series on rescued what God did to save us after our worship music. Dr. Blitzer will turn to Romans chapter 5 as he speaks, and are being rescued from hopelessness. Pastor looks or comes now to open our surface of worship and were so glad that you are here today, and when the Bible says, who so often with praise glorifies me remember this that when we give praise to God, and Thanksgiving. We are affirming the attributes of God the wisdom of God the power of God and we are able to make our Thanksgiving a blessing to him. Bless the Lord all my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name. So because of that we confidently today tell you that we are thankful people and we hope that this service will enable all of us to be even more thankful as we enter into his courts with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise now. Probably you've had a busy week with all kinds of stresses. Maybe there's some stresses that you'll experience tomorrow. Could we be quiet before the Lord for just a moment and invite his presence in this service this morning joining me.
As we pray now. Father, we do commit ourselves to you. We open our lives to you and pray that is the children saying and as we then sing together that this service might honor your name writ is Lord of all of the pressures and the concerns of this world and let us devote this hour to your special blessing and attention. We pray that you will get glory because we have met in your name Jesus name Amen name for ever and ever and praise your name ever and ever, and greatly to be praying and his greatness is unsearchable when generations are commensurate and had to clear my the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love the Lord is good to and his mercy is over that he has been all your work shall give thanks to you, oh Lord, and all your saints shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power to make known to the children of man, your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom – that generation in their book titled hope in an age of anxiety. The authors contend that there are nine different kinds of hope in most instances.
What this really means is that people feel alienated, they feel doomed and there seems to be no way out. A number of years ago, a good friend of mine, a pastor friend of mine tried to commit suicide.
Fortunately, before he died, it was discovered and he was taken to the hospital in his life was spared the day after I visited him in the hospital, and while I was there. His little daughter came through the door with her mother, daddy, daddy, are you sick I hope you're going to be better daddy hi thought a whole thing.
God, that he was not successful or that little girl would not have daddy. Which reminds me of the fact that suicide often times is very selfish even if you think that you'll be right on the other side and I need to warn you that things might not go as well as you think as Hamlet experienced the fact is that you leave behind a devastated family with all kinds of unanswered, but it was a couple of weeks after that that the pastor and I had a long talk and he said to me you have no idea what it is like to be in a depression that is so dark and so hopeless. It is like a tunnel and you believe that there is no light at all that the end of that tunnel and because of hopelessness you want to end it all. Not sure that I have the answer to all of the different forms of depression because I know there are many different causes, but I have no doubt that Jesus came to deliver us from hopelessness and today. If you are here and you feel hopeless, you have tuned into the right channel you're in the right church at the right time listening to the right message when Rebecca and I were in Russia. The Russians love to give people give and one of the gifts that they gave us was an egg. It was actually a plastic bag but was very beautifully painted and then when you look at it you notice that it had a rim and so you take it apart and much to your surprise, there was an egg within an egg and you think will.
This is rather remarkable and then you take can you open that second egg and you discover that there's an egg within it, and on and on it goes till about seven or eight different eggs were all involved in that one egg that you put on a shelf.
When you receive Jesus as your Savior. You receive Christ but what you don't realize is that with him. You've got all kinds of gifts that are wrapped up in the Bible says he who spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things wrapped up in Jesus are marvelous, marvelous gifts and what would like to do today is to look at some of them a few years ago I was going to preach a series of messages just on all the blessings that you get when you get Jesus.
Maybe if I am here long enough I'll actually get around to preaching it that amazing after all these years I've still not run out of anything to preach. There's more in God. Now sometimes I preach messages, convict us and to rebuke us. Sometimes I preach messages in order to challenge us and sometimes I preach messages in order to instruct us the message today has one central theme and this message is being preached to simply bless you to just bless you to have you so blessed that you can hardly wait to get out of here and to tell somebody how wonderful Jesus is. I want to bless you today and in order to bless you. I hope that your relaxed.
I hope that your listening. I hope that you put away your cell phones in your emails and all the other things that you can now bring to services like this and that you'll just simply give God your undivided attention. Of course, needless to say I'm not God, but we are going to look at his word and he's going to speak to us and I want you to be open to what he has to say and just let him bless you. The passage is the fifth chapter of the book of Romans Romans chapter 5 and you'll notice it begins with the word therefore therefore being justified by faith you've heard it a dozen times. Whenever, in the Scripture you come to the word therefore you should pause and ask yourself what therefore and the reason it is therefore is it connects with our previous sections of Romans and I preach about three messages or so on justification by faith alone is expounded in these chapters, because the summary of chapters 1 to 4 is this that by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight. We are justified by faith as a gift that comes to us in Jesus. So that's what that therefore is therefore therefore being justified by faith and now were going to just list some of the blessings we can't cover them all, but the ones that are here in the text that are immediately evident are going to give you hope and courage, and deliver you from hopelessness. The first one is this, we have peace with God, we have peace with God.
Peace. The war is over with God. Now there is such a thing as political peace, and we know that that doesn't go in a good direction. Someone said that it is easier to make war than it is to make peace, and that certainly is true in this life, but Paul is talking about personal peace. He's talking about the fact that God let his back toward us, because we were sinners and was fighting against us and we were God's enemies. God now has his arms stretched toward us and says, from my standpoint, I am at with you because I have made peace with you not hear me carefully. It's possible to have peace with God and not experience the peace of God, because the peace of God is that tranquil sense of faith that you and I ought to have been the midst of circumstances.
As we shall see in a moment, and this peace with God is not something that you work toward.
It's not something that you earn. It's not something that you get better at it is a fact that you are at peace with God.
You may feel as if you're at war with him but you are at peace with God. If you believed on Jesus and have been justified by faith and you also have to listen carefully now. I don't want you to lost on this one.
It is possible for some people to have peace independently of God and Jesus maybe through transcendental meditation or some other means they're able to because of medicine or drugs they can be at peace. But don't let that deceive you that does not necessarily mean that you have peace with God to give you an example. Let us suppose that you committed a great crime and then you fled the United States of America and to choose a country.
Let's suppose that you fled to Switzerland. There, in Switzerland you might be at peace. You look at the beautiful mountains, and they might inspire you, and you might meditate on them and you might be at peace. But the moment you come back to the United States. The feds are going to be waiting for you will get your name on the plane and then they'll be there at the gate waiting until say just because you have that piece there, there are issues here and listen carefully. If you find peace independently of Jesus. When you die, you're going to be in God's presence and God is going to say to you I you and I have some issues that we need to deal with and I am not at you at all.
So don't be deceived but there is such a thing as those who have the peace with God experienced the peace of God. In fact, it says let the peace of God rule in your heart. Let the peace of God rule.
Some of you are not allowing that piece to rule in your hearts, you are allowing anxiety you are allowing fear to rule you are at peace with God.
And now, because you are you are to allow it to rule and be the umpire of your heart in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made made known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind. God says I've made peace with you if you don't experience my peace. The peace of God, the responsibility rests with you. One gift that God has given us in Jesus is. We are at peace with God. Let's go on to a second and this is Hugh you'll notice in the text it says in verse two, through whom, through whom through him we have obtained access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We have access to God understand how revolutionary this is in Old Testament times people didn't have access to God. They got use to distance from God, not just at Mount Sinai where God says stay back or you'll be incinerated not just there, but when the temple was built.
You may know that it had various walls in various courtyard in the outer courtyard that was the courtyard of the Gentiles and Gentiles were to go beyond that and if they would. They were to be killed wow because they couldn't get any closer to God and then beyond that there was another court. It was the court of the women women and men. I would be able to come a little further if they were Jewish, and so forth.
And then the women would have to stay back because there was another wall and that led to where the priests could go so the priest could offer sacrifices they could go into the holy place where there was you member a table of showbread, and candles and so forth, and they could look after all of those things there.
The priests were allowed to. But then there was another part another part of the temple which was about 15 feet as a cube, and it is there that God dwelt because even those who did all these priestly duties were still separate from the present of God and in that place the holy of holies the very holy place, only the priest could go once a year on the day of atonement, and according to Josephus, they actually put a chain around his legs so that if he did some thing wrong and was struck down by God, they'd be able to pull them out without going in the chamber themselves because between the holy place and the holy of holies there was a marvelously constructed curtain that was several inches thick and nobody went behind that curtain unless it was the high priest and he did it only on the day of atonement, but everybody got use to just staying back stay way. God is holy, don't get near now think about this. What happened when Jesus died on the cross and the Bible says that when he said it is finished that veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom by an invisible hand. It was the hand of God, and God said now if you believe in Christ you have access your brought nearby the blood of Christ, you are in the very presence of God. Don't stand back. Come close come into my presence and it says in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 19 that we have confidence to enter into the most holy Place by the blood of Jesus and we come with confidence because of what Jesus says and you and I have access today into the presence of God. It's as if Jesus delivered us to the father and said now now that you're there, stay there all of life can be lived in the holy of holies. Today, the very presence of God because it is Jesus who gives us that right and that authority to come directly to the father and if I might throw that in this in.
That's one of the reasons that we as Protestants do not pray to Mary or pray to saints because we believe that when we come through the blood of Jesus. We have direct access to the father directly into God's presence that was provided for us by Jesus. Personally, I think I'd be a little insulted if my children had to go to other children and ask them to intercede on their behalf find their father come directly. That's why in the New Testament.
You have all of the invitations to come directly to the father you come through Jesus, to be sure who himself is God.
But we come directly and were thankful for others who pray for us, but we recognize that you and I always priests before God come into God's presence. We have access before the father.
That's a second blessing that just comes wrapped up when you get Jesus there is 1/3. This is a little more difficult in some people may wonder whether or not it is a blessing, but I'm going to just read the text your finger on the text and that is at. We rejoice in suffering.
Now this is in verse three you'll notice it says more than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, how can we do that that is so counter intuitive. We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character. Character produces hope, there's hope to see what we believe is that in the midst of pain and disappointment.
God is there now hear me carefully. I don't think that the apostle Paul is saying that joy should take the place of pain and by the way they're two different kinds of pains there's physical pain. And then there's something even worse than that and that his emotional pain, emotional pain because of rejection because of disappointment.
Recently, Rebecca and I were speaking to a rather well-known woman who has such disappointment with her son. She thought he was going to go into the ministry and then he's actually ending his second marriage so much pain and so much disappointment and then there's the pain of loss someone whom you love is gone and you know that you'll never be reunited in this life.
Paul is not saying now joy should should actually replace all of your sorrow know know know what he's saying is that we can rejoice along with our sorrows we can we can rejoice.
It is not contradictory to say that you are going through a time of pain and disappointment. And yet at the same time. Rejoice in your sufferings why because we believe that God is using the suffering it is not superfluous. You'll notice it says that suffering produces endurance. God loves endurance and character, proven character Joel story you know of old, when it is melted to get the impurities out. It has to be so melted in a very hot furnace God says when you go into the kiln when you go into the furnace.
I keep my hand on the hear me today when I tell you this, God would've never allowed you to go through what you're going through today unless he intended it to help you and to refine you. It has purpose.
It has a purpose. This is a longer study, but if you only see the devil in your circumstances.
If you only see the devil in the terrible things that you're going through. You'll always be defeated. You'll always be chafing agonizing obsessing and you will never be able to just pause and say thank you to God because you believe that God is there. Maybe the devil is working but so is God. And guess who's stronger so the devil is working but God is also and right in the midst of that if you give thanks to God.
You will be able to rejoice in your suffering.
God is up to something much bigger than the pain that you are experiencing. So Paul says that we can rejoice in suffering and that distally also is a gift of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is a gift. He's mentioned in this passage and I don't have time this morning to expound on that particular gift. This is a longer subject about 20 years ago I preached a series of messages here at The Moody Church on the Holy Spirit and I was just thinking to myself that I think it's time that I preached another series on the Holy Spirit because he is often the forgotten one of the Trinity and it says here the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. So the third gift that I'm emphasizing here is the ability to enjoy have joy in the midst of our suffering and that joy can only come through faith through trust through Thanksgiving. There's another one we have time for, and that is hope you'll notice in fact, it is our trials that lead to endurance, character, and then hope and of course it's been said a thousand times, but I need to say it again it is not hope. The way in which we use the word today. For example, I can imagine someone saying I hope that the Cubs will win the World Series next year. You can say that and you can hope that and then you'll discover that tens of thousands of people have been hoping that for a long time you know if you're new to Chicago, you should know that we can actually buy a Cubs T-shirt that says anyone can have a bad century. Paul is not talking about that kind of hope. Paul is talking about an earnest expectation convinced, absolutely convinced that Jesus will triumph that these things too shall pass. The darkness someday shall come to an end and that victory will be one has been won by Jesus, and will be applied, and the hope in the sure knowledge that the suffering of this present world is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.
That is the hope and I give you hope today. If you have never trusted Christ as Savior. I'm glad that you are listening to this message. It will help you to understand all of the blessings that come along with Jesus and one of the most encouraging is the gift of hope that certain conviction. The confident expectation that in the end, Jesus wins and you win to you win to because he wins now there's another gift and I'd like to transition here in this passage to what it cost God. The gifts are free in Jesus, you must understand, he who spared not his own son. As I quoted earlier with him freely gives all things.
I've listed three or four but it's all based on the sacrifice of Christ and the love of God, so it cost God. The gifts are free to us, but it cost God plenty it cost God, his son now notice seven. Jesus died and now we're in verse six for while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Now there are three categories of people for whom Jesus died. And if you don't fit into any of these categories then them. I'm really sorry because you'll never take advantage of what Jesus did. So I'm going to give you these categories based on the text. Your Bibles are open, you can see it there with the categories are from Jesus died in here they are. First of all, while we were still weak and powerless at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
You feel powerless, morally you feel powerless because you know you don't have the ability to save yourself that self salvation can't work for you do understand that that's necessary to grasp and then you'll notice it says in verse eight but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners. There's another category course those who are weak and sinners are really the same people but he's describing them differently so he died for us as we he died for us as sinners and then it says in verse 10 for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son while he also died for us as enemies as hostile as we as sinners and as being hostile. Jesus while we were still enemies with God. When Jesus died on the cross you hadn't even been born yet obviously and you and I are basically born as enemies of God and we shall see this in the next message and while we were we. While we were in our sin, and while we were enemies with God in ways that we didn't understand even then Jesus died for us.
No wonder Paul says that it was because of his love in verse eight God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners not going to say something to you that in the next few moments that will be revolutionary and will change your heart. If you're open to receive it. When the Bible says that God loves us. What does he actually mean Dr. Don Carson of Trinity seminary, has written an interesting little book on the love of God which is really quite a challenge in Scripture because God loves in different ways. But he says this picture Charles and Susan walking down a beach hand in hand. They kicked off their shoes and the wet sand to squishes between their toes. Charles turns to Susan gazes deeply into her large hazel eyes and says Susan I love you I really do.
What does he mean if we assume he has some decency and Christian virtue. The least he means is something like this, Susan. You mean everything to me. I can't live without you. Your smile paralyzes me from 50 yards.
Your sparkling good humor your beautiful eyes. The scent of your hair. Everything about you transfixed since May. I love you when he most certainly Carson continues does not mean is Susan, in spite of the fact that your nose is so large it belongs in the cartoons your hair is so greasy it could lubricate an 18 wheeler.
Your knees are so bony a camel looks elegant. Your personality makes Attila the Hun look sweet but Susan I love you now, Carson asks the question when God loves us what is that like what does he mean, does he mean something like you mean everything to me. I can't live without you, your personality, or witty conversation. Your beauty, your smile, everything about you transfixed is me and I love you that we got means of course not. When he loves this does not God, rather mean something like this. Listen, morally speaking, you've got a huge nose and greasy hair your disjointed knees and terribly selfish personality, your sinfulness makes you disgustingly ugly to me but I love you not because you're attractive but because I've chosen to love you want all of you to hear me now this is revolutionary and you know why you and I find it so hard to believe that God loves us as much as he loves Jesus, which is what the Bible says. After all, God would not have given his son if he loved his son more than he loved us data set.
I love my son too much to to redeem you, but it says in John 17 that the father loves us as he loved Jesus you know why you and I can accept is deeply ingrained with in us and I struggle with this very much deeply within us is this idea that we have to earn God's love and this somehow somehow we have to make ourselves worthy of it. And so the end of the day you and I don't really believe that God loves us. Let me tell you something if you and I believe that God really loved us, we be all free of jealousy.
We wouldn't have to be jealous of anyone else we wouldn't have to compete we be totally content with the way in which God made us we would be happy just to be loved by him and we would let him the love us without all the pressure of performance we would just bask in God's love and say here I am with all of my warts and sins and good intentions which I never fulfill all of my broken dreams. All of what I am, but there you are, because I've received Christ as Savior you love me as if I am him and I'm just going to rejoice in that we would be content. No more striving no more struggling. No more obsessing would say you know I belong to God and he loves me metal carry me through. From here all the way to heaven.
I can make right. Can we make it because he loved and so God loves us. That's the bottom line here regarding hopelessness. First of all, hopelessness, hope rather which overcomes hopelessness, hope begins by a having peace with God.
Peace with God right there in verse one. That's the beginning of hope and I say to all of you today that until you deal with that issue. Your hope is futile. It's a bad hope it's a hope that will get you nowhere. During the days of David Livingstone, the great missionary in South Africa. There were some Zulu tribes that were in one of the chief said in one of the tribe said to David Livingstone that we were at war and this tribe came and plundered us and took my son with them. How can I have peace with them when they treat my son in this way, what the Bible says is this that until you deal with God's son, you can't have the peace with God.
Yet to deal with his son yet to deal with the fact that Jesus died for sinners. You need to receive him therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That's the beginning point. Now, at last, having dealt with God's son and no longer being at war with him as God says I'm no longer at war with you because you're my child. That's the beginning point and hope because what that means is, no matter how bad things get, your relationship with the father is always intact. Always dependable, so that's the first lesson regarding hope there's a second to and that is hope continues.
Hope continues not by looking at our emotions, which are so flexible and tell us so many different lies. Our emotions lie to us all the time, but rather looking beyond ourselves to those trues in which we are secure to those of you today going through that dark tunnel of hopelessness. If you're a Christian, remember this, you are as a love in the darkness as you are in the light. You are love and you are cared for and in the end it will be okay. You don't need to end it, or try to end it, because you know that this too shall pass. Your emotions are lying to you. When you think that God doesn't love you and things are hopeless. So what you need to do is to dip into the deep reservoir lawyer of Scripture and read and meditate on all that God is revealed, I encourage you to to use the Psalms during a particularly difficult period in my life. I try to read through the Psalms at least once a month by reading several of them a day. I had a schedule notice. This, I waited patiently for the Lord he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction out of the miry blog I memorized it in the King James and it says the miry clay. This is good out of the law.
Some of you are in that pit of destruction and he set my feet upon a rock. He made my step secure he put a new song in my mouth the song of praise to our God. Many will see in fear and put their trust in the Lord well. So in the midst of David's experiences here of rejection. Though my father and mother forsake me. David says the Lord will pick me up and he went through his own depression, your memories and wired down all my soul that word cast down is sometimes used for sheep when they are, they get into his position where they roll on their back and can't get up without help. They can use their legs but their legs simply beat the air because his center of gravity is such that if they are cast down. They can't get back up without a shepherd. David's is why am I cast down all my soul here I am in my despair.
And there's no hope at the end of the tunnel where Doug has gone to my soul by about is quieted within me.
Hope thou in God while so God is there to bring you up from the pit. God is there to give you hope in the midst of your hopelessness.
God is there with us and he walks through the tunnels with us and our emotions lie continually to us and we have to say I'm going by an objective standard, namely God and his word and I have to hang in the Bible says he that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for soul with him freely at no charge. He gives us all things. I love that song that perhaps you and I have sung from time to time. My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is singing San all other ground is sinking sand. God gives hope to the hopeless.
He gives light where there is darkness. And Jesus came to rescue us to give his dignity purpose and hope matter where you're at today.
God has a plan for you. They didn't it already taken you to glory God is here, and if you've never trusted Christ as Savior. You have to deal with his son before you can say you have peace with God when you join me as we pray father we stand amazed at how freely you give blessings. We thank you that today wrapped up in Jesus is all that we need and through your people through groups that meet together and pray together we can be given hope as were reminded of your promises and reminded of all those who love us that whatever your need is today, would you just talk to God for a moment, would you thank him for his gifts and may those who've not trusted him believe on him right now in Jesus name, amen on today's Moody Church. Our Dr. Erwin Luzerne spoke on rescued from hopelessness.
The night in a 12 part series on rescued what God did to save us. Taken from the book of Romans next week. Join us for part 10 in this series a message I'm being rescued from eternal death. We are so grateful to all support The Moody Church. Our enduring this month we have a special opportunity. Every gift you send will be doubled. Thanks to a matching gift fund. It's been set up by others who value The Moody Church. Our as it reaches the wider culture addresses crucial issues of the day you can make your gift 11 by calling 1-800-215-5001 number again 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to moodyoffer.com that's moodyoffer.com join us next week for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin Luzerne and the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago