Everything is going to be OK
I want to tell you a story
I was driving into the church the other day and I had a million things on my mind, some people that are in battles of various kinds, concerns about the church, Monessen, COVID, the election, just a ton of things I was concerned about battling to give them to the Lord.
As I was driving a passed a home where a little girl and her brother were waiting for their school bus, her brother just stood their staring looking for the bus but she back pack and all was not concerned about the bus coming but took the time to play hopscotch while she was waiting. In that brief moment, the joy that she had was infectious to me, it lifted everything off of me just seeing her for the brief seconds having such joy, no worry, no cares, knowing the bus was going to come but wanting to have fun knowing everything was going to be OK.
In that brief moment I felt the Lord remind me of a passage of scripture and to look at it slightly differently
1 Corinthians 13:11-13
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Notice once we put away childish things Paul says we see things imperfectly….I believe our interpretation of this passage has been correct all of these years but missing some insight.
I believe Paul is challenging us to grow and mature and put away childish things but not put away childlikeness…Jesus told us unless we come as a child….Matthew 18:1-4
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (ESV)
What am I saying this morning?
It is tough being an adult, even tougher in this season we are walking in. I don’t like you coming to church and being reminded of all the bad things that are going on in our world, some times I have to do it but for the most part I like to challenge you to overcome, to rise above it, to trust in the Lord above all. I like to remind you of things like…Jeremiah 17:7,8
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit. (NLT)
I think Paul is saying it can be confusing if we lose our innocence, and become jaded. We need to put away childish things but he would not go against Jesus’ teaching that we remain childlike and that is part of why he emphasizes what he does in 1 Corinthians 13:13
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
These are things that we always need to keep in front of us that set us apart from the world. We read this verse under the assumption that this is something future but Paul is telling us this is always, they will never go away because the are the Father’s heart and as long as His heart is in us they will never go away from us…
Here is what I mean
Faith – Hebrews gives us this definition Hebrews 11:1,2
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
We will earn a good reputation as others see us in times of struggle and difficulty walking by faith.
There is no “magic” to faith as some may think. It is simply knowing God’s character and His word and trusting both to be true regardless of our circumstances.
What are you going through right now? What fears or worries are you battling? God will never leave you, He will never let you down, He is always right there, even when we blow it, He is still there. His character is consistent, He can not fail, He can not stop loving.
We can look at the list in this hall of fame in Hebrews 11, and see giants in the faith but many were just like you and I
Yes, Able, Noah, Enoch were great men of unquestionable character but lets look at some others we have in the list liars, deceivers, manipulators, those without self control, the fearful,
Why would I go there…many believe that people of faith are born that way, or always have it, but this list shows us it is something we choose to grow into…Abraham, Sarah, Gideon Jacob all grew through their struggles choosing to keep their eyes on the Lord…when we learn to trust the Lord choosing to overcome our feelings, situations, people’s opinions, as each of them had to, we grow in faith. In each of Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob’s lives, God used the ungodly to bless them. They didn’t know it at the time but what was going on in their lives, as difficult at it may have seemed, God used to bless them…
Why? Simply because faith is a choice that becomes a gift as we choose to say, “God I don’t get it, I don’t understand but I want to trust you, your character and your word. Help me to trust you!”
Hope – we are the only people in the world who can have hope, real hope.
While there is not a definition of hope in the Bible, like there is of faith. The Bible does tell us how it is developed. Romans 5:3-5
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
It seems that hope is birthed out of difficulty. Many of us would think, well if we have hope we would never have difficulty. Jeremiah tells us in 14:22 that God is our hope (ESV) and Paul challenges us that our hope is Christ, 1 Timothy 1:1
Notice as we grow in hope, Paul tells us we will never be disappointed in it. But you may say, “Pastor, I have been so disappointed in my life by so many things.” Allow me to challenge you, you very well may have given up too early or you were hoping in things that were not God.
As we grow and we see our hope develop as Paul outlines in Romans 5. We learn to trust the Lord, we learn to be patient knowing that God has patience with so many, and may be working on someone else to fulfill your hope. Our hope starts in times like right now, where we have to, without knowing the future, the outcome, what may happen, but knowing God’s word and His character we can say I hope in the Lord.
When trials come, battles come, fear comes, frustration comes, anger comes it is only God saying I want to build hope in you.
Scripture reminds us that hope brings faith and love (Colossians 1:4,5), it leads to joy (Romans 12:12) and we gain boldness 2 Corinthians 3:12)
Like faith, it is not magic it is a choice and we grow and God pours out.
As we read earlier when our hope is in Him our roots grow down deep and in times of difficulty we are not affected by what the rest of the world is suffering from. Just remember this..
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
That brings us to love…I have spoken about love more than any other subject in my years of preaching/teaching.
I want us to look at something a little different, perhaps even empowering about love
Ephesians 3: 20:21
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
What does that have to do with love? I’m glad you asked
Paul is saying here that Christ can and will do more than we can ask or think, according to the power that is at work within us. Let’s step back just a couple of verses to see what that power might be.
Paul is praying for the church of Ephesus that they might have what they need to change their world
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul’s prayer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in other words what God’s heart is for us is…
Through faith (knowing God’s great love for us and that he has an unshakable and unstoppable plan) we might rest, feel empowered, be completely at peace knowing how much God loves us, that it would be simply something that is thought about or even hoped for but that we would be completely convinced of His love and the power that love brings in that if we are filled and understand that love we have the fullness of God in us.
This is were many get tripped up, they may know the theology, even the power but apart of the love of God our foundation is easily shaken and even understanding the deep things of God is limited and we can easily be tossed this way and that, easily upset, distraught , depressed because we really don’t understand His love for us and others…but when we do…everything is OK because we know He will do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could hope or ask.
Today I want you to realize you have the faith that God is always working for us and through us for our good, because our hope is not in everything around us but in Him and we have a love that he can place within us that surpasses our understanding.
Be the light, no one controls your future but God and he does have it and that future is for a hope and a good and to see Him and you do exceeding and abundantly more than you can imagine