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Hope & Lament

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
July 5, 2020 6:00 am

Hope & Lament

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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July 5, 2020 6:00 am

Listen to four of our campus pastors as they share what God has been teaching them over the last several weeks.

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Normally, on July 4th weekend, you have the great opportunity to hear directly from one of the campus pastors. While we couldn't do that because of the obvious circumstances, we thought it'd be great to hear from multiple campus pastors this weekend.

So we asked a few of them what God's been showing them in the Word, what he's been doing in their life, and we asked them to share it with us this weekend. You know, sometimes you like to have one good thing for a meal, like a big steak. That's the weekend that Pastor JD usually preaches.

But other times, you want a smattering of things like tapas or a whole bunch of appetizers. That's what this weekend is going to be like. A tapa-style service with worship, devotionals, prayer, and more. So this weekend is going to look a little different, but I think God is going to use it in mighty ways to help you and me fix our eyes on Christ, our hope, and our lives in Jesus. Hey Summit family, my name is John Muller, and I have the privilege and joy of serving you as the campus pastor at our Capitol Hills campus. And I know all the campus pastors today are going to say it, but I want to be the first. We miss you.

We miss you so much. I wish I was here worshiping with you now, and I can't wait for that day, but I'm glad we're worshiping in this format. You know, I wanted to share with you today something that I've just been processing with God with in my own heart and in my own life. Whenever I heard that Pastor JD was going to be walking through First Peter with us as a church, some of the guys in my small group and I decided that we would do an in-depth study in the book of First Peter. And there's just been something in the first chapter that has just stuck out to me.

So if you want to go ahead and click, turn, scroll, whatever you need to do to get to First Peter, chapter 1, verse 13. My point for today, and my only point for today is this, is my hope is not for sale. I want you to say that. My hope is not for sale. Look to the person to your right and say it. My hope is not for sale. If there was nobody on your right, you can say it to the person on your left.

In fact, text it to someone, put it in the comments there. My hope is not for sale. That's what we're going to talk about today. That is what I have been praying for my wife and I, and that is what I have been praying for you as our church family. So let's start reading First Peter, chapter 1, verse 13 together. The first word is therefore. Now I know, all you biblical scholars know, whenever you come to a therefore in the Bible, you've got to ask, what is the therefore therefore?

Well, the first 12 verses of chapter 1, Peter let us know that he was writing this to the exiles that happened in the dispersion. And so we see that they are dispersed and what he does is he roots their hope in the work of Jesus Christ. In fact, he calls it a living hope. He says that Jesus Christ is their living hope. And that is the gospel.

That is the good news. That is what we say at the Summit Church. The gospel in four words is Jesus in my place. It is that we were sinners that turned away from God, that we chose our own path, denying him and disobeying him.

And because of that disobedience, we deserve death. But what God did through his son, Jesus Christ, is he loved us so much, he sent Jesus to live the perfect life that we were called to live. And then Jesus died the death that our sin deserved and is alive today so that we can have eternal life with him. And that is our living hope that no matter what sin you came with today, that you cannot out sin God's grace.

No sin is greater than the grace of the Lord because he knows you completely and loves you completely. And it is in that living hope that Peter is talking about there that he establishes that. And then we see the turn in verse 13 whenever he says therefore. And so now he's telling his readers and for us today what to do with that living hope and how we are supposed to live that out.

And so we'll see that here. Going back to verse 13, therefore, preparing your minds for action and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Now, whenever you read this, you have to see the words and think, is Peter expecting a fight? Is he expecting some opposition? And he is. That's why he's telling them to prepare their minds for action and be sober minded because the life of a Christian is an active life.

It is an engaged life. And the battle for our hope is in our minds. See, think about it like this. Here in North Carolina, we have hurricanes that come through here all the time. And people that have homes on the coast and that live on the coast, what they do is they board up their homes. They are preparing for an opposing force. They are preparing for something that is powerful that they are trying to protect their homes or their businesses against. And so that imagery here, I want you to use that and thinking about this verse, when Peter says, prepare your minds for action, that is because they need to be active. Something is going to happen.

An opposing force is going to come at them. And that opposing force is something that is going to try to sell you to get your hope. And that, I mean, all we've got to do today is turn on our computers or turn on the news and we see things that we have put hope in that are crashing down, whether it's our health and what is going on right now in our world, whether it's our justice system or political system or whether it's even our jobs or our finances, many things that we rested our hope in are crumbling to the ground. And so what we see here is that there's only one place we can put this hope. And that's why Peter says, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

You know, we were talking about this verse as a staff team at the Capitol Hills campus. And one of our kids directors, Elizabeth, brought up that this grace here is two part. It's talking about the first 12 verses, that there is a living hope, that there is a grace that we have been saved and that living hope that this world is not our own, that we are not meant for this world, that we are supposed to live as exiles in this world because we were never meant for it, but we were meant for the creator. And so that living hope is that Jesus Christ died on our behalf and that our sins are no longer counted against us.

And they were counted against him. And so that's the first part. But the next hope, the grace that we will see is when Jesus saved us, Jesus also promised to return and to draw us to himself. And so no matter what is happening in our world right now, no matter what is going on in our life right now, we can look beyond it to the hope that is coming through a risen savior when he returns to draw us to himself. And so when we see this, and the reason we say, my hope is not for sale, is because many things are going to come at you to try to get your hope, whether it's you're single and you want to get married, or whether it's you're married and you want to have a kid, or whether it's your career is not what you thought it would be, or maybe your health is beginning to fail you, or maybe a friend just hurt you. When you begin to feel angry or bitter or hurt, I want you to say to those lies, my hope is not for sale. Whenever you begin to feel fear, or you begin to feel doubt, or you begin to get tired and weary, I want you to say my hope is not for sale.

Whenever you begin to get frustrated or you see what's going on in our world and you cry out, God, where are you? I want you to say my hope is not for sale because my hope is in a savior. See what Peter says here, to put our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

He knows that he is telling his readers and us today to set our hope there because there's a million different options for us to put our hope in. We have to battle every day to set our hope in Christ, but the only secure place to put our hope in is Jesus Christ because he is our living hope. Today, I want us to start off this service by remembering what Jesus Christ has done for us. If you know Jesus Christ and you were his son or daughter, I want you to remember what he did to save you.

Remember that moment. Remember that living hope that has been given to you by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And then I want you to know that the God who saved you is the God that will sustain you and the God that will come back and draw you to himself. So whenever Satan is feeding you these lies to doubt, you say, my hope is not for sale.

Whenever he's feeding you these lies to feel insecure or to feel less than, I want you to say, my hope is not for sale. Church family, our hope is not for sale because our hope is in a Savior. And I'm glad that we are now going to sing, holy, holy, holy is the Lord. Because in that, we are crying out to a holy God who has drawn us to himself and invited us into that holiness with him. That that holiness is a gift. That holiness is our hope. That our hope rests not on our own record, but on the holy and perfect and blameless record of Jesus Christ. In Mark 14, 32, we see him.

Christ is now approaching his darkest moment. No, there is no sun piercing through the clouds. There is no echoing of a voice saying that this is my beloved son.

No. No, for right now he is completely alone. Can you see him? He's in the garden. The garden of Gethsemane. A place set aside by the ancient of days, God himself. A place where one can mourn and weep and ponder.

And dare I even say, question. A place full of mint. In these last four months, I found myself in this same garden. And in that garden, the only thing that has grown are my groanings for justice.

All my wellings for understanding. Yes, it seems to be a place that God set aside just for me for a time such as this. And as I peek over the balcony of our country, I see no peace. No comfort.

No care. But ironically, what has brought me comfort has not been the stone being rolled away from my Savior's grave. Nor has it been the linen cloths being neatly folded as he defeated sin and death. But what has given me comfort in this time has been this garden. Do you see him? My Savior, for he is wrestling with the world, pondering his obedience, even contemplating the curse and the weight of the cross.

Can you hear him say, can this cup pass from me? See, what this garden represents is Christ stepping into our pain. What has brought me comfort in this time has not been my Savior's success, but it's been his suffering.

I want to remind you of what we have conveniently forgotten and deliberately ignored. That there is a place to sit and to weep and to mourn and to question. There's a place in the garden for you. Do you not know that others have also walked in this garden? Abraham was there as he questioned God keeping his promises.

Moses took a walk in this garden as he pondered how God would use him to free his people. My sister Ruth took a seat in this garden as she would question how she was going to make it. And don't forget my brother Job, losing all he had, wondering how he was going to make it.

And now we get to us. What God is teaching me is that there are times in my life where I need not to rush through my pain. There are times in life where I need not to wipe away my tears. There are times in life where I need to sit and take a walk in God's garden. For my black and brown brothers and sisters, as we constantly cry out for pain, as we constantly cry out for injustice, oftentimes we are asked to quickly move past our pain for the comfort of other people. But let me invite you into this garden.

For my brothers and sisters who have been affected by this pandemic, and you're asking yourself, even losing your jobs, how can I make ends meet? Let me invite you into this garden. For my brothers and sisters who've lost loved ones and your health is breaking down, let me invite you into this garden. For those of you who are physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually worn out, let me invite you into this garden. For in this garden, there's a space to sit and to weep and to lament and to just be. Sometimes you don't need to run to the cross, but sometimes you just need to take an extended walk in God's garden.

Be not mistaken. The reason I can take my time in this garden is because I do know the story of the cross, that I need not rush through my pain. I need not rush through my tears because on the other side for me, there is victory. Do you not see on the other side of the garden, there is Revelation 21, John saw it, for John would say that one day God shall wipe away every tear, that God shall soothe and ease every discomfort, that God shall ease every groan, and God shall comfort every moan. Do you not see that one day God will wipe away sin and death shall be no more? I do know the story of the cross, but our problem, church, has never been experiencing victory. Our problem is that we don't know how to sit and lament. A good friend of me and my wife, Rosie, told me that without the language and discipline of lament, she had been going about the Christian life all wrong, trying to bear her cross without going to the Garden of Gethsemane first.

Interesting. Christ knew that he would wipe away every tear. Christ knew that he would comfort every moan. Christ knew that he would soothe every ache. Christ knew that he would wipe away death and destruction forever, and yet he still took a seat of lament in the Garden of God.

How much more should we? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ lamented the Father's will and yet submitted to it. So, as you and I take our victorious trip up that hill called Calvary, as we approach the cross of our Savior, don't forget to stop by the Garden and sit for a while, especially as it pertains to racial unity. To my white brothers and sisters, if you're encouraging me to keep going, if you're encouraging me to believe the best, I say thank you. But what I want from you is to sit and weep and cry with me.

See, to be a part of the solution, you must first feel the weight and the pain of the problem. Be not mistaken. I am a prisoner of hope. I do know that one day I shall see my Savior face to face. I do know that one day he shall make all things right and all things new. I do know that one day this shall not always be.

But for right now, if you wish to find me, you'll find me in the Garden. Amen, Summit family, he is worthy. Well, my name is Pastor Jonathan Linker.

I'm from the Briar Creek campus. And listen, I was sharing some time with some of your other pastors this morning, and we are just so grateful for you as a church. We miss you. We have been praying for you. The Briar Creek Elder team in particular has been praying for our church that we would grow in a church that has Jesus before first above all things and before all things, that we grow in our unity together, the same unity that the Father and the Son have that we would demonstrate to the world by our love for one another. Then also that God would just pour out his Spirit on our church. And so we love you, Summit family.

We miss you guys so much. Can't wait till the time where we can worship together again. Until then, I'm glad to be able to get in front of you and really just share what God has been teaching me in this season. The teaching team of the Summit reached out to some of the campus pastors and asked, hey, what's God doing in your life?

What would you want to share with our church? And so I just wanted to share with you really from one verse in Hebrews 11. It's Hebrews 11 six, and it's really just one part of that verse.

I want to read it and just share with you some of the things that God has been teaching me in this season. And without faith, it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

I've just been thinking about the first part of that verse, that phrase, without faith, it is impossible to please God. You know, as I read through the gospels, you know, Jesus is doing like incredible things all the time. And if you read the way the gospel writers describe the people watching those, they're always astounded.

They're marveling. But there's only actually a few times where Jesus himself is astounded at something other people are doing. And as I read it, all of those times are actually in relationship to faith. Jesus goes and preaches at his hometown of Nazareth. And the scripture says that he was shocked.

He was astounded. He marveled at their lack of faith. As a matter of fact, Matthew's gospel says, and he did not do very many miracles there because of their unbelief. You know, I can't think of sadder words written in scripture about any group of people than that. And so we see that our lack of faith can astound even the Son of God.

But we also see the opposite to be true as well. And we see it in the lives of two people who are not Jews at all, but were actually Gentiles. We see it in the centurion who sends to Jesus and asks that Jesus would heal his servant. And Jesus marvels at this man's faith.

Later, we see a Canaanite woman pray that Jesus would heal her daughter. And Jesus makes the comment, I haven't found faith as great as this in all of Israel. And he responds to their faith, both with joy and by granting their request. And so we see as we read through the gospels that our faith, our belief in God can actually astound the Son of God. Maybe a way that we should think about it is this, because God has been so faithful to us, we ought to be faith filled in response to him.

Maybe I'll say it again. Because God has been so faithful, we ought to be faith filled. You see faith, biblical faith is not some sort of blind hope. Faith is not seeing less of God. Faith actually sees more of God. And because you see more of God, you're willing to trust more of God. Because God has been faithful, we ought to be faith filled. Man, I see this in my own life. Because God was faithful to save me, I didn't bring anything to the table for God to save me.

He didn't see something about Jonathan Lincoln. I was like, man, I really want him to join my family. No, like the Bible tells me that I was dead in my sins and trespasses. I was totally unable to do anything that would bring me closer to God. But God demonstrated his love for me in this, that while I was still that sinner, Christ died for me. And if God has been faithful to save me, he's also gonna be faithful to save my one. He's also gonna be faithful to save your one. He's gonna be faithful to work in the lives of people that you've been praying for for years. Because God has been faithful to me as just a provider, there have been many seasons in my life where I've had seasons of plenty and seasons with not as much, but God has never left me without everything that I needed for life. And so because God has been my provider, he's been faithful to do that, I'm gonna believe that he's gonna continue to provide.

Where do you need to believe that? Where do you need to believe that God's continued hand of provision, just like it's been demonstrated in your past, is gonna be demonstrated in your future? Maybe you need to believe that not just for your family, but maybe we need to believe that together for our church.

Maybe we need to believe that together for our country, that there is a king on the throne and he hasn't stepped aside. He knows what is happening in our world. And if we can measure his compassion by the cross and his love for us by the blood of his son, then surely he is going to provide all that we need in this season. So I just want to take a moment and ask you that question. Since God has been so faithful in your life, what do you need faith to believe that he will provide in this season? Once you take a moment right now to ask that question, and then you can pray a response back to God. Family, I wanted to leave you with this passage of scripture from Lamentations 3 21. But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Hey Summit family, my name is Dustin Wells. I'm the Blue Ridge campus pastor. And this morning I had the privilege of being the last campus pastor to share with you what God is teaching me in my life. As a kid, I loved Where's Waldo books.

Man, if you liked them as well, can you throw a little like a high five emoji in the chat? Man, for me, the thrill of finding Waldo where it appeared that he was absent, it was electrifying for me. I was probably the kid that got a little too excited about finding him.

You're like, don't be that guy. But sometimes I would look at, I would stare at a page for what seemed like an eternity looking for Waldo and it would feel like he wasn't there. And I would get incredibly frustrated. Oftentimes my mom would then come in and she'd find it within 30 seconds. Maybe some of you can relate. Maybe some of you are the person that finds it in 30 seconds.

I can be honest with you. That's really tough for those of us that can't. But if I'm being honest, there've been moments in the last two years of my life and in this season in particular, where the question that's burning in my head isn't where's Waldo, but rather where's hope. And as I'm looking all around, I'm trying to find hope. I'm trying to find hope.

I can't find it. And it's been in this journey that I've had some friends come along and not help me find Waldo. They've helped me find hope in a hopeless place. And so today I'm going to share with you how God has led me out of Psalm 88. And at first glance, if you read this, it's going to seem nuts, but I think we're going to find a few things from the Psalm that show us how we can find hope in a hopeless place. Somewhere subtly in my Christian life, I picked up this belief that being frustrated with the Lord was equivalent to lacking faith.

I don't know exactly where this came from, but I had no, I just had no idea that you could be frustrated or hurt. But look at the Psalmist in Psalm 88, specifically verse three and verse seven, it says this, for my soul is full of troubles and my life draws near to Sheol. Your wrath lies heavy upon me and you overwhelm me with all of your waves. The Psalmist is not afraid to voice his hurts and his frustration to the Lord. This is because the Psalmist knew something that I needed to learn. And it's this, that God can handle my frustrations and my hurt. I'm going to say this again. I'm actually going to ask you to say it with me, that God can handle my frustrations and my hurt. If you had asked me if I believed this, I would have said yes, but it did not show in my heart.

And let me explain a little bit of what I mean when I say that. A few years ago, I got to live one of my worst nightmares. I was a guest to a family friend dinner, and they're going to go around and they're going to honor one of his relatives. So they ask everyone to share a story or some experience that shows honor to this relative. And once again, I'm a friend of the family.

I have no experience with this relative. So in this moment, I'm left with this, what do I do? I don't have words.

I don't have anything to say. And so I felt like I was forcing the situation of, do I fake it or do I just disengage entirely? And I think for some of us, this is the exact same choice we feel like we have to make when it comes to the Lord.

Then we have experiences and seasons of great frustration and great hope. We feel like we don't have the words. So what do we do when we show up to church? Do we fake it or do we disengage?

What do we do when we pray? Do we fake it or do we disengage? I mean, in this, in this Psalm, one of the things that gives us hope is that God can handle our frustrations and our hurt.

I mean, we think that we have to either fake it or disengage. The good news is the Psalmist gives a third option and it's called lament. That we get to sit before the God of the universe and air our frustrations and air our hurt. And it's in that moment, in that rawness where we're saying to God, the world is not as it should be. I'm hurt.

I'm frustrated. It's in this rawness, in this voicing, we find true communion. Because true hope is only found on the other side of lament. But let's jump down all the way to the very end of this Psalm. All the way to the very end. Verse 18 says this, you've caused my beloved and my friend to shun me.

My companions have become darkness. Do you see how this Psalm ends? At first reading, you're probably left thinking that's not how Psalms are supposed to work. I mean, the Psalmist is supposed to voice his concerns then end with this great gospel hope that leaves us hopeful. What in the world?

How did this make canon? Like, how's this in the Bible? Where's the hope? And I think it's in this passage that we find a great truth that C.S. Lewis talks about in his book Until We Have Two Faces.

C.S. Lewis is writing a book about these people that are struggling with seeing the injustice in the world and suffering and are looking for an answer. And it's written in two books. The first book are people complaining to God. The second book is them answering their own complaints. And this is the first line of book two. And I think it sums up why this made canon and why we can find great hope. And it says this, I ended my first book with the words, no answer, but I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer because you are yourself the answer. And before your face, questions die away.

And C.S. Lewis knew this, that our hope is not in solving a problem, but our hope is in the great problem we suffer. And somehow, subtly, I gained this belief that when I was going through pain, that there was this equation working on in the background that was playing out in my life.

And it was this, that the lessons I was learning and the opportunities I would gain always had to be greater than the pain I was experiencing. And where this was really And what's really damaging for me is that when I was going through real hardship and real suffering, I had to start looking, what am I supposed to be learning that makes it worth it? God, what's the answer I need to find to get out? What answer do I need to manufacture to find some hope?

How do I make this equation work? And the good news is that that's not how biblical hope works. Biblical hope is not found in an answer that makes the equation work. Biblical hope is found in the presence of God. Hope is not found in some answer we get from God. Hope is God himself. And if true hope is found in God's presence, then that means we can have hope when times are absolutely horrific. Because it is precisely when our circumstances are the most painful that God says, I am here with you and he suffers with us. Man, at moments, even in this season, I've been tempted to do the very same thing, to try to manufacture a lesson that I needed to learn, try to manufacture something I needed to hear to find hope. And today I wanna echo to myself and say what God has been teaching me and I hope he speaks to you is that your hope is in God himself. You do not this morning need to manufacture hope in lessons you think you might be learning because you are able to find hope in God himself. The Psalmist knew he didn't have to end his Psalm with that because hope was found in the one he was voicing this Psalm to. Man, if I'm being honest, I'm still not that great at finding Waldo. But because of good friends in Psalm 88, I've become better at finding hope in a hopeless place because hope is always waiting for us on the other side of lament.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-06 09:28:31 / 2023-09-06 09:41:11 / 13

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