You can be the wholesome kind of a person who betters any situation by the spillover of hope out of your heart filled with the Spirit of God
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Well, this is your friend Dr. Cook and I am glad to be back with you once again to share from the Word of God. I look forward to these times of fellowship. To me, they’re inspiring and relaxing and challenging and I suppose I get more help from them than any of you who are my listeners. We’re looking at Romans chapter 15. We’ve come now down to verse 13. And we’ve been walking around in that verse.
Now he says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” That’s the key word — believing; committing your life to Christ as Lord. He then becomes the God of hope — that’s the first thing that happens. The circumstances are not the first thing to change; your and my attitude toward them is the first thing to change. He becomes the God of hope when you commit yourself and the situation to Him, then comes joy because you know that He is the center, the focal center of your life and then comes peace because you know that He is in control.
And as a result, there is a blessed spillover of the blessing and power of God from your life “that ye may abound” it says “in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Abound in hope. There are so many references to hope in the Word of God. There’s the hope of the glory of God, there’s the hope of the resurrection Paul spoke of. We are to hope in the Lord, the Psalmist says. Hope grows out of our experience with the Lord and His faithfulness, Paul says in Romans, I think, chapter 5, isn’t it?
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience works experience; and experience produces hope. And hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.” So this matter of hoping in God comes out of experience with Him. Small thought here: Never fight the challenges and the problems that you face day by day because these are the leverages which God uses to move you closer to Himself. Experience with God and His dealings with us produces hope for the future.
We know what He did yesterday so we can hope in terms of aggressive faith for tomorrow. “Hope maketh not ashamed.” Hope has to do with righteousness. Galatians chapter 5 verse 5 says, “We wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” This is something that comes not by trying, not by doing, not by the law, the ceremonial law and the Mosaic Law — God’s righteousness is something that is first reckoned to you – “imputed” is the Scriptural word – reckoned to you and then imparted to you by faith. “The hope of righteousness by faith.”
Paul speaks about rejoicing in hope and he speaks also of the blessed hope of Christ’s second coming. Look at the “blessed hope” he says in Titus 2:13, “the glorious appearing of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ,” a blessed hope. Hebrews 3:6 talks about rejoicing in hope; Hebrews 6:11 talks about the full assurance of hope; Hebrews 6:19 speaks about hope as an anchor of the soul, steadfast and sure; Peter speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ as being our living hope, “God has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead;” and John in his first epistle chapter 3 speaks of the hope of Christ’s second coming as a purifying hope, “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he, Christ, is pure.”
So Paul says “that ye may abound in hope.” This has to do then with my relationship with God and my relationship to the circumstances, my relationship to people around me, my relationship to my future so far as living in this world is concerned and my relationship to the more distant future so far as my eternal destiny is concerned. And all of it, now, here’s the key dear friend, don’t miss it, all of it depends upon committing the situation as it is when it happens to God. We are so slow to do this.
I received a letter just the other day from a man who said, “My wife and I fight at least twice a year and she leaves me and then I try somehow to woo her back and she comes back. This time she said she is never coming back. What shall I do?” He went on to say, “My trouble is that when we argue, I lose my temper and I say mean and bitter and nasty things to her and then I’m sorry.” Does that have a familiar ring to any of you? That simply is a statement of an honest human being which mirrors, in some degree, experiences that all of us, at some time or other, have had.
“I get angry,” said he, “and then I say mean and nasty things and then I am sorry afterwards.” What do we do about these human nature reactions? The answer is found in that word “believing” – commitment, commitment – commit the situation to God as it happens. You know, beloved, you know when you’re going to get angry before you do, isn’t that true? If you are about to blow your top, as we say, just a split second before you do it, you know it’s going to happen and that little mental moral monitor that lives somewhere in your brain is saying, “Shall I? Shall I not? Shall I let him have it or shall I not?”
And finally you say, “I’m going to let him have it,” and you do. Later on you realized that you made yourself look ridiculous and small and bitter and you feel sorry about it all. Then it’s too late to unsay and to undo the damage. Why not rather commit the situation to God as it is arising? When you know that if you go on the way you are, you’re going to lose your temper, why not then commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ and pray in faith and say, “Lord Jesus, keep me in this situation. Control me.”
When you know that if you go on as you are, you’re going to yield to some temptation stronger than your human ability to resist it, why not then, as you see the situation arising pray, “Lord Jesus, keep me now. Hold me and keep me through to You.” You see, this whole matter of committing yourself to the Lord is a present tense matter. And once you learn that blessed secret, you will be spared hours and hours of tears and heartbreak and regrets and bitterness and despair. You don’t have to fight. You don’t have to break up. You don’t have to cave in. You don’t have to give in to strong temptations. You don’t have to do it that way. God has provided another way.
Paul says in Romans 6, “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law,” this do and thou shalt live, “you’re not under the law, but under grace.” So whoever you yield to, that’s the force and the power that is going to win. “As you have yielded the members of your body slaves to uncleanness even so”, same thing, same process- surrender, give up, commit – “even so; now yield to members of your body slaves to righteousness”. You see, the process is the same. It’s the process of surrender.
You think, “Shall I? Shall I not?” The little mental moral monitor’s considering, “Shall I? Shall I not?” And finally, if you’re operating simply on a human nature basis, you give up; you surrender to that temptation, whatever it is. Now, he says, instead of surrendering to yourself and to temptation and to your old human nature, instead of surrendering that way, surrender in a different way — surrender to Christ. Give up! Give up to Christ! In each case, it’s surrender. I tell our young people, surrender is built into your bones. You are going to give yourself up to something or somebody inevitably. Why not, then, give yourself up to Christ, the Victor? Good idea?
“That ye may abound in hope,” said he. How? Through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now the overflow of the Christian life is found not in how I feel but in what the Holy Spirit of God does in my life in answer to my faith in Christ. The moment you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus as Lord in any given situation, that moment, the blessed Holy Spirit of God begins to provide for you the blessed spillover of hope and faith and joy and peace as byproducts of His ministry. “The fruit of the Spirit,” says Paul in Galatians 5, “The fruit,” or the result, in other words, “of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.”
So the moment you commit a situation to Jesus Christ as Lord, you do so in faith, you give up to Him, you surrender to Him, when you commit a situation to Christ, that moment, the Holy Spirit of God begins to produce in your life the blessed byproducts of His presence. And so Paul says, “You abound in hope,” the spillover of divine confidence is there because the Holy Spirit of God is producing it. Have you ever wondered why people who were spiritually alive and filled with the Holy Ghost, why they seemed so confident?
They may indeed have been going through dreadful trials at the time but in them there was an optimism and an up looking confident hope in God that simply beggared description. And you said to yourself, “How can they be so calm and so confident and so joyous when they’re going through such an experience?” The answer, my friends, is that the Holy Spirit of God produces that confidence. “That ye may abound in hope”. You can be the wholesome kind of a person who betters any situation by the spillover of hope out of your heart filled with the Spirit of God. What a beautiful truth that is. May God make of us, you and I, that kind of people today.
Dear Father today, help us to be the kind of people who just spill over the hope and blessing and joy of God, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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