Friday, October 5, 2007

Faith is the DYNAMITE and hope is the FUSE (#2)

Good afternoon! It has been a busy but productive day so far. I hope things are going well for you.

I want to continue what we started yesterday discussing the importance of HOPE. Hebrews 11:1 says that "Faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, the evidence of things not seen."

Faith is the DYNAMITE, and hope is the FUSE. You can have all of the dynamite in the world, but it will not do you any good without the fuse. The fuse is what IGNITES the dynamite. It is HOPE that ignites FAITH. Hope is that expectation and anticipation that something good is about to happen.

There is truly a need for more faith in this world. However, faith is, according to Scripture, the substance of what? HOPE! We have to have hope before we can have faith. Many people today have lost faith because first they gave up hope.


The word "hope" is found some 158 times in The New International Version of the Bible?  

·        The Bible points out that we are saved in hope.

·        Hope is likewise tied to the second coming of Christ.

·        God the Father describes Himself as The God of Hope.

·        1 Corinthians 13:13 then adds: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." Again, hope finds itself in some pretty select company.  

Hope, along with love and faith, is truly one of the centerpieces of Christian truth! We are a people of hope!

Having said that, I want to now share with you one of my favorite "hope" stories. It is the story of Abraham found in Genesis 12 – 21.

While most people associate faith with this great man, I see him as also being a person who possessed great hope. The man was old. His wife was old. His animals, his tents, his clothes were old. Everything about Abraham had grown old. Something else marked him and his wife. They had never had a child. They were both old and barren. It was in such a hopeless situation that God came to Abraham and told him that he was to become a father; Sarah was to become a mother. Years passed. Five, ten, maybe fifteen years and then the Lord appeared to Abraham once again and repeated the promise. At this point, Abraham was 99 and his wife was 89. Nonetheless, within the year the promise was fulfilled and Isaac was born.  

Listen to these words found in Romans 4:18-21: "Against all HOPE, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations..., Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."

Did you catch what was the foundation of Abraham's hope? IT WAS THE PROMISES OF GOD. GOD SAID IT THAT SETTLED THE ISSUE.  

We're talking serious business here, people! "SARAH, GET READY, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!"     

 Hear me please. Sometimes all that we hope for is contrary to hope, is against hope, and simply defies us to have hope. That was Abraham. Notice Romans 4:18 now from several additional translations:

"When hope was gone, he hoped on in faith...."

"Who against hope believed in hope...."

"Who past hope upon hope believed…."

"Abraham, when hope was dead within him, went on hoping…."  

He had hope in God's word in spite of what he saw when he looked in the mirror or when he looked across the room at his wife Sarah! He had hope in God's Word in spite of what the calendar or the birth certificate said. He had hope in God's word REGARDLESS!

That hope led to faith. That faith led to the promised blessing!

 The story of Abraham was put in the Bible to inspire HOPE in us! You do not have to doubt God or His great promises. He is true to His Word.  

Before I close today's blog, I want to share with you a quote from Max Lucado's great book, God Came Near. Lucado writes, "Hope is not what you expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I'm-dreaming ending. It's Abraham adjusting his bifocals so he can see not his grandson, but his son. It's Moses standing in the Promised Land not with Aaron or Miriam at his side, but with Elijah and the transfigured Christ. It's Zechariah left speechless at the sight of his wife Elizabeth, gray-headed and pregnant. And it is the two Emmaus-bound pilgrims reaching out to take a piece of bread only to see that the hands from which it is offered are pierced. Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no, it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction."

My prayer for you is that you have a great, HOPE-FILLED weekend. I HOPE to see you Sunday! Blessings!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day,


Pastor Rusty



Anonymous said...

Pastor, First of all I must say this has really spoken to me. I often lose hope and become discouraged and depressed and this has helped me a lot and it came at a time when I was feeling very down and out. However it has also raised a question that I would like to present to you. As you stated in this blog 1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." You have been talking about hope being the fuse and faith being the dynamite. So here is my question, if love is greater than both of these, would that make love the match or the spark that lights the fuse? What good is a stick of dynamite with no way to ignite it? Love would then be the most important part, the one thing that starts the reaction or that sets our hope and faith into action.
Just a though I had as i was thinking about this blog. Thanks again Pastor, you'll never know how much these blogs touch people like me. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Sunday