HOPE OVERFLOWING!

BIBLE STUDY TEXT:  ROMANS 15:4-13

imagesThere are probably some who are reading this BLOG ON HOPE that is not feeling a lot of Hope in your life right now.  Maybe on different occasions, you have had your Hope built up in things and they let you down.  Trust me, I’ve experienced this almost rehabilitating feeling in my own life in the past.

Maybe you have had your HOPE IN THE WRONG THINGS.

Maybe you have had your HOPE IN GOD, but what you expected God to do, didn’t happen.

Maybe you have lost HOPE or afraid to put your HOPE in anything for the fear of being disappointed.

Hopefully, this Bible Study in Paul’s Letter to the church in Rome will give you or someone you know to live in HOPE, because HOPE is absolutely essential for LIFE and FOR LIVING!

ILLUSTRATION: Wharf Rats Drowning.

I was reading this week about this experiment by some behavioral scientists did once with some rats.  They put some WHARF RATS in a tank of water, observed them, seeing how long they would survive before drowning.  The average time was 17 minutes.  Then, they repeated the experiment, but this time they “RESCUED” the rats just before the point of drowning, dried them off and returned them to their cages, fed them and let them play for a few days, then repeated the drowning experiment.

This time, the average survival time for these same rats increased from 17 minutes to 36 hours!  The scientists explained by pointing out the second time around the rats had hope.  They believed that they could survive this because they had done so before.  [See Footnote [i] ]

HOPE ETERNAL – 1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV):

[3] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [4] and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.

NOW THAT IS AWESOME!  Awesome that we have that LIVING HOPE when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, believing in Him.

And how can we forget Jesus’ words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life”  (John 3:16).

We have this ETERNAL LIFE, not based on what we do, but solely based upon our BELIEF in and receiving of Jesus Christ.

LIVING IN THIS “HOPE” THROUGH HIS WORD!

Romans 15:4 (NLT):

[4] Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.  And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

Through reading God’s Word on a daily basis, we can see and are taught how God has been faithful to His people, even in the middle of difficult circumstances.

God IS Faithful!

In 1985, my family was going through some “difficult circumstances”, in that I had lost my management job due to a company buyout.  Although we had food and shelter, other necessities were going to have to wait until I could get back on my feet with new employment.

The church we were attending at the time had mail slots for each member that hung on a back wall in the foyer.  Special bulletins, upcoming meeting notices, and anything else that needed to be circulated in accordance with church activities.

One Sunday morning, proceeding to check for mail, in the designated slot there was a white legal-sized envelope with our last name on the face.  I curiously opened the envelope and found an unsigned note paper clipped to a hundred-dollar bill that read,  “Buy some clothes for the kids, or yourselves…something personal to enjoy and not on bills!”

It is through reading His Word that our circumstances don’t necessarily change, but that He gives us strength and encouragement to stand in the HOPE that we have.

Earlier in Paul’s letter to the Romans (5:2-5). through His Word, we’re reminded of His PROMISE.

romans-5_2-5

Through His Word, we are told of God’s FAITHFULNESS to past generations.

Through His Word, we can be encouraged to live in HOPE, while rejoicing in our trials and sufferings.

GOD HELPS US TO LIVE DAILY IN HOPE…

Not only does He help us in our HOPE through His Word, but also, God helps us live in HOPE through His church (15:5-11 NIV):

[5] May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had,  [6] so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[7] Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.  [8] For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and  [9] and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.  As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”

[10] Again it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”

[11]  And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.”

Paul talks about having a spirit of UNITY and the ACCEPTANCE of people as the Lord accepted us.

Sometimes we can confuse being “accepting” with condoning sin.  The Jewish Christians were struggling with the Gentile Christians with what they had to do to be part of the church.

  • Did they have to get circumcised?
  • Did they adhere to the dietary laws?
  • If they didn’t, could they really be part of the community of FAITH?

All these differences could destroy the church in the building up of the believers in HOPE.

But Paul tells the Jewish Christians that God has ALWAYS declared that He would bring the Gentiles to FAITH.

And notice how the apostle quotes from the Historical Books–the LAW, the WRITINGS, and the PROPHETS to make his point to the Jewish Christians that God’s plan was always to include the Gentiles so they should accept them too!

So God helps us through His Word and through His church, reminding us of the HOPE we have, but at the same time, we must remember OUR HOPE is only found in His Son.

HOPE IS ONLY FOUND THROUGH JESUS CHRIST (Romans 15:12):

“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him, the Gentiles will hope.”

Titus 2:11-14

word-of-the-week-titus-2-infographic

Standing In That HOPE

I love Natalie Grant’s song lyrics that came to mind while studying the verses:

IN CHRIST ALONE-

In Christ alone, my hope is found

He is my light, my strength, my song.

This Cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ, I stand.

GOD gives us OVERFLOWING HOPE through His Spirit (v. 15:13):

[13] May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may OVERFLOW with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.

cup-overflowing

It is through the indwelling Holy Spirit that those who TRUST in Jesus have, that our HOPE cannot just help us endure, but that it can OVERFLOW from our lives and we can thrive with that overflowing HOPE!

But you might be thinking, “Isn’t the ‘overflowing’ of anything a big waste?  When I overflow my car’s gasoline tank at the gas station, it always leaves a big mess!”

Not in this case.

As the Holy Spirit FILLS you with HOPE as you grow in FAITH through the Word, through the fellowship of other believers, through having your eyes fixed on Jesus and the SALVATION He has given you now, along with the INHERITANCE that never perishes, never spoils or fades, kept in HEAVEN for you…THAT HOPE you have, OVERFLOWS, spilling on to others around you!

As you interact with others in this world and live in the HOPE that you have, and speak to them of the HOPE that you have, it OVERFLOWS so that they want what you have in their life.

While you endure and persevere in difficult circumstances, the HOPE OF GLORY that the people see will want what you have even if that means their circumstances are not great.  That’s because HOPE is essential to life and to living.

If you have great circumstances in life but no HOPE, you really won’t be living!

All we have to do is look at so many famous people walking down the Red Carpet, who seem to have all kinds of great circumstances, but struggle with LIFE & LIVING.

CONCLUSION –

Do you have HOPE today?  Is your HOPE, an overflowing hope?

Have you trusted Christ as Savior?

If not, then that’s the step into HOPE you need to take!

But if you have TRUSTED Him, and not experiencing the HOPE He gives, then maybe you are not taking advantage of the things He has given us to help us to LIVE in that Hope.

Get in His Word!

Connect with a body of believers, in REAL RELATIONSHIPS, through Bible studies and serving in the community.

And as God POURS OUT that HOPE in you, SHARE that and experience the OVERFLOW HOPE of the Holy Spirit as He uses you and me to SERVE His kingdom.

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Bible Translations:  The New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Footnote [i]:  The Remarkable Power of Hope by Joseph T. Hallinan, Psychology Today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every WEB Begins with a Single Thread – (Part 2 of 2)

WEB of TEMPTATION
WEB of TEMPTATION

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB)–

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”

WE HAVE TO EXPECT TEMPTATION WILL COME:

“but with temptation…”  (verse 13).

Most of us go out into the world each day ill-prepared for a “spiritual battle”.  Ephesians 6:13-18  informs us that not only are we to get ready, but to stay ready and “put on the full armor of God”.  Yeah, I know, many of you who are reading this series on TRIAL and TEMPTATION are saying,  “I know that verse all to well”, or maybe…”I know what the Bible says about being prepared and being strong against trials and temptations.”  That might be the case, but have you tucked the POWER of Ephesians 6:13-18 so far away, when trials and temptations arise…you forget where it is?   

Think of yourselves as a tube of “spiritual toothpaste”–PRESSURE brings out what’s really on the inside.

A WORD STUDY in 1 Corinthians 10:13:

TEMPTATION:  peirasmos from peiazo = To make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense.

It describes first the idea of putting to the test– then refers to the test or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature and the quality of some thing.

Peirasmos implies TROUBLE or something that breaks the pattern of peace, joy, and happiness in someone’s life.

TRIALS rightly faced are harmless, in fact beneficial:

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter TRIALS of any sort or fall into various TEMPTATIONS.  Be assure and understand that the TRIAL and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience”  (James 1:2-3 AMP).

OVERTAKEN:  lumbano = Taken hold of, grasped, seized and in so doing, bringing under one’s control.

In some secular uses, “lumbano” meant to be taken by violence, seized, carried off (as a prize or booty).  It was also used of passions, feelings, etc.–meaning to be seized by a thing– “caught in the webs ‘stabilimenta’ or elaborate web decorations”  [*See Part 1].

Paul uses the perfect tense in verse 13 “overtaken”–

The perfect tense emphasizes that they had not only been solicited by TEMPTATION but seized and overcome and that this temptation “has laid hold of you” (Berkley, Wuest, Amplified).  Using the perfect tense brings us down to the present moment; there has never been “peirasmos me anthropinos.”  In addition to this there is certainty that God will never prove FAITHLESS.

COMMON TO MAN–Such as is human!

Don’t let use of this sentence as an excuse to sin when you are tested–TEMPTED–rationalizing the act in your mind saying, “I’m ONLY human!”  That’s not the application Paul intends.  As one person has written,  “God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage.”

J. Vernon McGee writes that…A great many people feel that nobody has ever been tempted as they are tempted.  My friend, no matter what TEMPTATION you experience, there have been others who have had the same kind of temptation.  The encouraging thing is that God will make a way of escape for you.  God is FAITHFUL, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can endure.

We often want to excuse our particular tempting circumstance as “very unique” or a “special exception.”  But God reminds us our temptation is NOT unique…that many other men and women of God faced the same or similar temptation, found the strength in God to overcome the temptation.  Others before you found strength in the Lord to overcome your temptation and worse!

Becoming Victorious in Overcoming–

So you can be victorious in the STRENGTH of JESUS, not in your own strength:

“But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts)”  (Romans 13:14).

“But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).    For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do”  (Galatians 5:16-17 AMP).

We FIGHT TEMPTATION with Jesus’ power, like a young girl who explained what she did when Satan came to her with TEMPTATION at the door of her heart:

“I send Jesus to answer the door.  When Satan sees Jesus he says,

“OOPS sorry, I must have the wrong house.”

“BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL” – (verse 13).

Timothy Edwards notes that “God’s faithfulness is shown in not permitting temptation to be too intense or too long in duration.”

Word Study:  FAITHFUL – (pistos from pertho – to persuade or induce one by words to believe, have confidence), is something or someone who’s worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc.

And Paul’s Point…?

God always acts consistently with His character, thus has made a provision adequately to meet the need of those who rely upon His strength and seek to be conformed to His will:

“Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

Let us fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]”  (Hebrews 4:14-16 AMP).

Illustration of God’s Faithfulness:

There was once a young boy whose Dad left him on a downtown corning one morning, telling his son to wait there until he returned in about a half hour.  But the father’s car broke down and he couldn’t get to a phone.  Five hours past before the father managed to get back, worried that his son would be in a state of panic.  But when the father got there the boy was standing in front of the dime store (‘old story’), looking in the window rocking back and forth on his heels.  When the father saw him, he ran up to him, throwing his arms around him, then hugging and kissing him.  The father apologized and said,  “Weren’t you worried?  Did you think I was never coming back?”  The boy looked up and replied,  No Dad, I knew you were coming.  You said you would.”

God Will Not Allow You to be TEMPTED “Beyond What You Are Able” —

In short, NO TRIAL/TEMPTATION is naturally stronger than our spiritual resources.

People sin because they willingly sin.  Notice that God doesn’t promise to deliver us from the trial/temptation but He does promise to LIMIT its intensity so that it does not overwhelm our ability to handle it!

He also promise to provide the way of escape that we might be enabled to bear up under the trial/temptation (Gen. 19:20,21; Psalm 124:7; Jeremiah 29:11; Lk. 16:26; Acts 27:44; Jas. 5:11). 

–Standing On the Promises–

Standing on the promises I cannot fail,

Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call.

Resting in my Savior as my all in all,

Standing on the promises of God.

The words of that old favorite hymn still have an effect on our lives when it comes to being tempted/tested.  Oswald Chambers encourages us writing that…

“PATIENCE has the meaning of testing–a thing drawn out and tested, drawn out to the last strand without breaking, and ending in sheer joy.  The strain on a violin string stretched to the uttermost gives it its strength; and the stronger the strain, the finer is the sound of our life for God, and He never strains more than we are able to bear”  (The Hope of God – The Ministry of the Unnoticed).

4 -TRUTHS to Remember the Next Time You Are ENSNARED:

1.  Others have already gone down the same path.

2.  God can be trusted in your trial and temptation.

3.  God will not allow too great a temptation or test to come into your life, although, it may feel that way.

4.  With every TEMPTATION or TEST, there is the way of escape.

THE WAY OF ESCAPE–

“The Way…” does not lead us to a place where we escape ALL temptation (that’s heaven alone), the way of escaping THE WEB leads us to te place where we are able to bear it.

We are reminded that to be tempted is not sin,  BUT TO ENTERTAIN TEMPTATION OR SURRENDER TO TEMPTATION IS SIN.  When we bear temptation, Satan often condemns us for being tempted (Rev. 12:10; Job 1:9-11; 2:5; Zec. 3:1-2).  But it is that condemnation from Satan the Christian does not need to accept (Eph. 6:13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).  REMEMBER, God provides the armor, but we must completely put it on.

Ephesians 6:13
Ephesians 6:13

I’ve given you a lot to think about in this two-part series on TEMPTATION, TESTING and TRIALS we face daily.  As a Word Detective, let me leave you with this WORD STUDY:

1.  Temptation – Greek Word, PEIRASMOSS – Trials of a varied character.

2.  Escape – Greek Word, ekbasis – Way or escape, the way out of a defile, a mountain pass (a WEB).

3.  Bear (endure) – Greek Word, HUPOPHERO  – To bear up under.

4.  Faithful – Greek Word, PISTOS – To be trusted; reliable.

So if you were to commit this verse to memory, you will be able to resist the grasp; the single stand of the Spider’s WEB and ESCAPE the snare of Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13:  “No temptation has overtaken you but such as common to man; and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it”  (NASB).

REMEMBER, it only takes one thread to ensnare you…then the hold of the WEB.  Avoid the “thread” avoid the SIN!