How to Develop an Audacious Hope

How Can We Develop Audacious Hope During Difficult Times?

Tim Lundy
Aug 2, 2020    31m
When you base your hopes on worldly things, it can be hard to maintain a feeling of hope. Yet, when we set our eyes on the Kingdom of God and what He teaches, we can develop the gift of audacious hope during difficult times. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:00 Hey Venture, I have a question for you today. Are you average? Don't take offense, it's not bad to be average. In fact, somewhere in life, we're all average. When you think of the bell curve, whether it's finances, or abilities, or physical characteristics, some are really low, some are really high, most of us are somewhere in that middle, around the average.

Tim Lundy: 00:22 And as you think about averages, you know, I was looking at some in the U.S., just physical economic ones. The average height of men in the U.S. is 5 foot 9. The average height of women, 5 foot 4. The average weight, and this isn't taking height into account, just the average weight of men is 198 pounds. The average weight of women, well, I was taught not to talk about a woman's weight, so we're not even going to go there. The average income in the U.S., $62,000. The average IQ in the U.S., 100. Now, again, I don't know where you are on those scales. Every so often, you meet someone in life, they seem to be above average in everything, they're great at everything, they have resources in everything. Do you ever find yourself when you meet someone like that, and you discover an area where they're weak, where they're below average? Isn't there a part of us that we're like, yes? We just love that somebody is not perfect, even if we're bad at the same category.

Tim Lundy: 01:24 Now, I want you to think about this though, spiritually. Because here's the interesting thing about being a Christian, no matter who you are, you don't have to settle for average. I love this about Christianity. It says in scripture, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, it doesn't matter if you grew up in the church or you grew up very sinful, it doesn't matter if you're very rich or very poor, it doesn't matter what race you are, in Christ, we don't have to settle for average, we can actually live in excellent spiritual life. Not because of us, but because of Christ, because everything he is, is open to us, is given to us.

Tim Lundy: 02:05 And as we've been talking about this series on hope, I want us to think about that. Do you have an average hope or do you have an audacious hope? Do you have a hope like everybody else out there, a hope that's just based on circumstances, a hope that starting to wear thin a little bit, a hope that that never shows up really in your daily life because you look discouraged all the time? Or do you have an audacious hope? The kind of hope we've been talking about is found in scripture.

Tim Lundy: 02:38 Let me give you a review real quick, when we use the term audacious hope, here's what talking about. Audacious hope is confident, active expectation. It's confident, based on God. It's active, I'm not passive. It's expectation, I'm actually leaning into it. And here's what it's based on, it's based on the certainty of what God has said, and what Christ has done. Now, as we talked about last week though, how do we have that kind of certainty? Because it's hard to have certainty on something that was said a long time ago, or what Christ did on the cross 2000 years ago, and in that, that's why scripture always ties faith and hope together. And remember, we talked about last week, these two things, faith is based on God has done, hope, looks forward to what God will do. My faith is grounded in what God has done, what he's said in his word, and how it's been proven, and how I've a reasonable faith. What Christ has done, what he did on the cross, what he did in human history. See, my faith looks back on that, and it's based on that. And then based on that, my hope looks forward to what God will do. And in that, I can trust him and I can know that.

Tim Lundy: 03:53 So how do we develop this kind of audacious hope? As I'm looking forward, what do I need to do to develop that? You know, last week we looked at Romans chapter 4, the example of Abraham in his life. And then Paul follows that up with a great passage. If you've got your Bible, you might want to open it, and you can turn to it. This would be a great passage for you to read this week, Romans 5 verses 1 through 5, because in it he's going to build on that, of what is the result of this faith, and then ultimately, how do I develop an audacious hope? Now, if you look at it, look at the first couple of verses there, the results of faith in Christ. He says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we a have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Him we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."

Tim Lundy: 04:52 You're going to have four things that result because we have faith in Christ. And if you look at those four that he walks through, look at the first one. The first thing is, we're right with God, we've been just defied by faith. That we're justified means we've been declared right, God's forgiven us of our sins. He's like the judge, and he's pronounced the sentence over us. And instead of giving the judgment we deserve, he gives us a judgment that we are right with him based on Christ. And guys, that's a forgiveness, not only of my sins past, not only of my sins present, but my sins future. I don't have to live in fear that I'm going to do some sin down the line that makes me wrong with God, in Christ, I've been forgiven for all eternity.

Tim Lundy: 05:41 Now there's a second thing that he says with that, we have peace with God. Now, whether you realize it or not, if you don't have a relationship with God through Christ, scripture describes it that you're enemies with him. There's enmity, there's division, and you never have that peace at a soul level. See, the moment you put your faith in Christ, from that moment forward, you always have peace with God. There's no division anymore, and the peace that it brings at a soul level. I want to say this to some of you, you've not taken that faith step, and you wrestle all the time at a soul level, and you never have peace. And these circumstances send you into even more anxiety, and you don't realize it, you think it's all the circumstances that are going to bring the peace, it is only a relationship with God that brings that kind of peace. And I'm telling you, to be able to get up every morning and know today, no matter what happens today, I have peace with God. To be able to put your head on your pillow at night, and no matter what's going on in the world, I have peace with God through Jesus Christ. Not only that though, look what he says. He says, we live in grace., this grace in which we stand, this grace in which we do everyday life. God doesn't give me what I deserve every day, I deserve judgment, I deserve condemnation. I screw up so many times, and yet in grace, God, doesn't give me what I deserve. He gives me what I don't deserve, love forgiveness. He gives me the ability, and I love that phrase, this grace, in which we stand, he gives me the ability to stand in Christ, to make right choices. That by grace today, he is saving me. See, that grace wasn't just on the moment that I said that prayer alone, when I was saved by grace, it wasn't just that day, it's every day since then.

Tim Lundy: 07:41 And then the final result, and this is where we come to hope. He says, we hope, and I love this phrasing here, we don't just have any hope, this is audacious hope. Do you know why? Because we're actually hoping in the glory of God. He's talking about God's glory, and we don't really have a concept for the glory of God. We use that term kind of glory, as like, [inaudible] And that's about all we know is just, okay, it's just glory. And scripture talks about it, it's God's power, it's God beauty, it's God's majesty, it's God's holiness, it's all the characteristics of God, and he's so incredible and so awesome, the glory of God. First Timothy describes it in First Timothy 6, "He's an unapproachable light." He's this blazing glory, that if you saw him in all of his glory and all of who he is, if we approached him like that, we couldn't even get near him. We've only had glimpses of it. You know, when Jesus was walking the earth, there was one night, he went up on a mountain with three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, and Mark 9 describes it. And in it, there was a transfiguration. It says in the passage, His clothes started becoming bright and white. It was like his glory seeping out. And Moses and Elijah came down, and they're there and they're not gods, but God sent them back. And even seeing them, Peter, and James, and John gets overwhelmed by it. And I love the phrasing of it because it says this, Peter just starts talking, he doesn't know exactly what to say. But when he seeing the glory of God, it reminds him of the tabernacle. And remember in the tabernacle, when the spirit of God would come down, they had this tent that was for God's glory. And so he says, we got to make some tents. We need one for Jesus, and we need one for Moses, and we need one for Elijah. And Mark writes in the phrase right there, "He didn't really know what to say, because they were terrified." Just in his fear, as he's getting this glimpse of the glory of God, he just starts babbling.

Tim Lundy: 09:37 Guys, we've never seen the full glory of God, now we get glimpses of it with creation. Psalm 19 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." I don't know if you've had that moment, when you stand on a seashore and you see the ocean, and something in your soul wells up. You're getting glimpses of glory. Or you go to the mountains, or you see a waterfall, or you see a newborn's face, the heavens and the earth, it declares the glory of God, and that's only a glimpse. I mean, can you imagine if you saw it in full glory? I was reading about these astronomers, there was a team at the university of Sheffield. That about 10 years ago, they discovered the brightest star that we've discovered. And this star it's R136A1, is what they named it. I think they could've come up with something better than that, but apparently that's how they named stars. And this star it's 265 times larger than our sun, the mass of it. That's not the amazing part, this really blew my mind, this star is 10 million times brighter than the sun. Can you imagine how powerful and bright that is?

Tim Lundy: 10:57 I had the opportunity last night, my neighbor, Justin Gayewood, he texted down. He said, hey, I've got my telescope out, do you want to come look at a few things? And you know, I'm walking down thinking of a little telescope and I get there, he's got a big telescope. And he says, look through this. And I look up and I said, am I looking at Jupiter? Because you could see the planet, you could see the moons, you could see the color. And then he moves a little bit, and then you're looking at Saturn and you could see the rings. And I'm telling you just in that moment, you have that sense of the glory of God. And guy's, I'm just looking at a couple of planets that are right by. The glory of God is what we hope for. But notice what Paul is saying, we don't hope for it as this glory that we have to be scared of, we don't hope for it as this unapproachable glory. Now here's the interesting thing, see if we went in God's presence right now, just like we are, it'd be a horrible thing. Because when you're before him in all his glory and your sinful, man, you'll cry out in horror. When you're before him and you're finite, and we're just like we are... But I love how First John puts it, it says, "That when we appear before him, we don't have to be afraid. We don't have to shrink back. We don't have to fall down. We can look at him face to face." Do you know why? Because we'll be like him. That doesn't mean we'll be gods, but he'll change us completely. Our salvation will be so complete that instead of being scared of the glory of God, we can enjoy it.

Tim Lundy: 12:35 You know, when you think about all the abilities in heaven, all the things I'd love to be able to do. You know, I'd love to play basketball like Michael Jordan, or fly. My kids that we talk about, this things we might be able to do in heaven. You know, the greatest ability you're going to have in heaven, is to be able to be in the presence of God and enjoy it. Because you'll have to be so changed to be like him, to experience that. Guy's that's our hope, that's what we hope for. And as you hear that, you see that faith and hope, they go hand in hand in it. But here's the thing I can read a passage like that, and I can think about the hope of glory. And it seems so wonderful out there, but how do I have an audacious hope now? How do I develop an audacious hope in the day to day of life?

Tim Lundy: 13:22 And that's where Paul continues with this passage. If you look at it, he's going to tell us how do we develop an audacious hope. Look at how he continues. "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (And I love this line) and hope it does not put us to shame." It's not the kind of hope you'll ever be embarrassed about. It's not the kind of hope that you'll ever look back on and go, ah, why did I hope in that? Why? Because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who's been given to us.

Tim Lundy: 14:03 I want to take this passage, with the previous two verses, and kind of give you a picture. Because in this, I want you to see this hope development process that God's laid out, it's kind of a curriculum for it. If you look at it, the bottom part of this, there's a foundation that has to start with a faith in Christ. That's verses 1and 2. If you don't have a faith in Christ, if you don't have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, everything I'm teaching you, it won't help. You can't drum up this kind of hope, you can't just kind of learn, this kind of hope you can't apply yourself to this kind of hope, this hope is only available in Christ. And so if you've not experienced faith in Christ, if you've not taken that faith step, I'm telling you reach out today, connect with someone, click on the button on the side, go to the chat room right now, as you're seeing this. Say, I need to talk to someone, because I need to develop this kind of faith in Christ. And maybe you have questions about that, maybe you don't know how to do that. But you're never going to have what we're talking about, and what we've experienced, apart from faith and Christ.

Tim Lundy: 15:08 Now we, that have faith in Christ, look at the first step of it that he says. He says, "We rejoice in suffering." Now, this is not the kind of curriculum I would have designed. In fact, this process is kind of counterintuitive. We think, okay, I got faith in Christ and it goes immediately to hope, and if I have just enough hope I'm going to get there and experience the love of God and glory. Boom, that's it, it's done. And Paul goes, it actually doesn't work that way. See, it starts with faith in Christ, and then in life. And I love Jesus's honesty, Jesus says it in John 16, he says, In this world you will have trouble. Now don't give up hope, because I've overcome the world, but you're going to face suffering, you're going to face persecution, you're going to face disease, you're going to face unemployment, you're going to face a pandemic even in our time. See, it's suffering, and Paul says, in that moment, you have that choice to rejoice in suffering.

Tim Lundy: 16:07 James 1, puts it this way, he says, "Consider it all joy when you face these kinds of trials." You know, Chip Ingram has done a series, a three part series, based on James 1. And when we finish this Audacious Hope series, we're going to have that three part series, and Chip's teaching on it. It's that choice. Now notice what it doesn't say, it doesn't say, oh, when you face suffering. Oh, I'm so happy that I'm suffering, oh, this is so good that I'm suffering. That's masochism, Tod doesn't teach that, that's denial. God, doesn't say that. He doesn't say rejoice because of suffering. He says, rejoice in suffering, big difference. I'm not choosing to rejoice because oh, I get to suffer again. No, God never called us to that. But I'm choosing to rejoice, even though I'm in suffering. Now, how can I make that choice? Well look at it, because suffering leads to endurance, endurance. And I think this is the missing key in our hope development curriculum. I think we don't talk about this enough as Christians, this word of endurance, of persistence, of developing resilience, in it.

Tim Lundy: 17:20 It's true in all of life, is you go through those hard parts of life and you learn to develop that kind of endurance. And I remember when I was about a year and a half into college, I was broke, dead broke. So I dropped out of school for a semester, and the best money I could get was on a construction job site. Big job site, pouring concrete, building warehouses. And I'll never forget that January day when I walked out there for the first day, it was 20 degrees outside when we started. I didn't think you could work outside when it was that cold, much less work all day. Over the course of the day, it got all the way up to 28, it was a cold day. And probably the hardest part of that week was the next morning when the alarm went off, and I had to wrestle with, am I going to do this again? And the best thing about being really, really broke is you don't have many choices, so you have to do it, and every day having to go back out there. And if I thought that was hard, it even got harder that summer, when it wasn't 28 degrees out, it was 98 degrees out. And part of that summer, we were pouring this huge warehouse and we'd been behind because we had so much rain. And I'll never forget, there was about a three week run where we needed to catch up pouring concrete, and we would start every day at daybreak, usually by 6:00 AM at the latest, and then we would go until it was dark. I mean, most days were 6 until 8 at night, and it was concrete all day. And toward the end of the day, you'd look over because the concrete trucks would keep coming in and you could see how much the boss had ordered. And you'd count them waiting in the line to deliver their load, and we'd always look at it because you knew you're not going home until the last truck has delivered his load and you've taken care of it for the day. And I'm telling you day in, day out, it was hard. But over the course of that, I developed endurance, I developed resilience, that didn't just help on a construction job site, it helped in the rest of life as well.

Tim Lundy: 19:27 You know, the same thing is true in our physical lives, you feel it in your body. You know, Bob Record, he wrote about the fact, he said he decided to get rid of some of the sag in his saggy waistline. So he went and started working out and he was doing cardiovascular, doing weights, and it felt like for months, nothing was happening. It was just hard, all it was, was hard. Until one day he felt this momentum, listen to how he describes it with that. He said, it was like a quantum leap, he said, weight began to drop off, muscle began to get toned, endurance increased. Medical friends told me that the constancy of working out, regardless of how I felt because of that, a whole new freeway system of small blood vessels and capillaries were forming in my body. Then came the day when they decided it was time for a grand opening, and suddenly more blood came flooding into the muscle tissue, and the resulted benefits seemed exponential. See, it didn't feel like it, didn't feel like it, didn't feel like it, but there was a whole new network that was developing.

Tim Lundy: 20:25 And I'd say, in the same way God wants to do this spiritual in our life, and he has us go through hard times, and go through suffering. And in that suffering, as we endure, we develop the kind of endurance and resilience that suddenly brings that growth. And out of that, we're able to go over the haul. See, I think spiritually, we like being like cheetahs. If you've ever watched a cheetah, as a kid they were my favorite in animal world, because a cheetah is like a drag racer, a cheetah can go 70 miles an hour. And so it's just like, boom, this speed and he goes after the prey. But here's the problem with the cheetah, the cheetah's body is so sleek, its heart is really small. And so while it can do that burst up to 70 miles an hour, it can't do it long. Now, I think it's God's design. Can you imagine if he had made cheetahs with huge hearts, we'd all be dead. I mean, they just keep running and running, they'd hunt us all down. But a lot of times I think spiritually as Christians, we've trained our lives to be more like cheetahs. We love to rise in the moment, we love to hit it hard. We love to go, and, man, and immediately we've conquered it, overcome, and then we want it over with. But life doesn't work that way, and you find yourself in that place if you've trained like that, you run out of steam pretty quick.

Tim Lundy: 21:52 See the suffering of life can continue for a long time, I think it's part of what we're struggling with in this pandemic. We wanted to hit it like cheetahs, man, we were going to hit it hard, we were going to learn from, we were going to overcome. And then it keeps going, and it keeps going, and we're in that place that we have to decide, are we going to allow God to do his good work of endurance. Because here's the great news, out of a endurance, Paul says, comes character, character. See God starts doing something in us, and the reason you can rejoice in it, and the reason you endure in it, it's not necessarily that my circumstances have changed, but I'm changing. I'm becoming more like Christ in that, I'm becoming more of a person that can love others better. We learn and grow in humility, we start experiencing the fruit of the spirit. This character that comes, and is forged out of that, knowing that God uses everything in life, the suffering life, even my failures in life, he's using that in the process.

Tim Lundy: 23:03 Do you know, one of my favorite speeches was an Admiral in the Navy, Admiral McRaven. I don't know if you saw it, it was a commencement address at the University of Texas. We watched the whole speech as a staff, but he makes several points in, 10 key points. One of them that stood out to me, he said in one of his points, he said, don't be afraid of the circus. And here's what he meant in that, he was a former Navy Seal, and so he said, when you're a Navy Seal training, you have these performance goals every day. You have to do calisthenics, and swimming, and running and all this. And if you don't meet the goal of that day, you're assigned to the circus. And the circus was an extra two hours at the end of the day, of more calisthenics. And the circus, by design, was designed to break you down. The circus, by design, was designed to weed them out. And he said in the speech, he said, here's the point though, everybody had to face the circus at one point or another. And the interesting thing is some of the people that had to go through it the most, they were the ones that were getting stronger and stronger. They were the ones who embraced, even though this is more, even though this is harder, they came out stronger because of it. That the failure actually led to stronger character, and a stronger body. Listen to his closing words, he says, life is filled with circuses, you will fail, you will likely fail often. It will be painful, it will be discouraging, at times it will test you to your core. But if you want to change the world, don't be afraid of the circus, don't be afraid of when you hit those moments.

Tim Lundy: 24:41 And I would say spiritually, don't be afraid when God's called you to a time of suffering, don't be afraid when you're having to endure longer than you thought it was going to be. Don't be afraid, because he's changing your character. And out of that, you know what comes? Here's where we finally discover, we have hope. See the hope is not this instant thing that comes out of our faith, this is the audacious hope development process. And when I say that, I don't take it lightly, I really don't, because some of you are enduring some hard things. Some of you are in a time of suffering, you're having to endure in your marriage, and it's really hard. You're having to endure being alone, and it's hard. You're having to endure a health crisis. You're having to endure economic crisis, you don't know how much longer you can go.

Tim Lundy: 25:33 And I want you to hear me, I don't wish your suffering on anyone, but God using it. And when we embrace that, no matter our circumstance...You know, Philip Yancey talks about a letter he received from a friend of his, and her daughter Peggy was terminally ill, she about to die of cancer. And her last weekend, before she went into the hospital for the last time, she went to church one last time and she came home so excited. And she said that the minister today gave me a definition of endurance from William Barclay. She was so excited, she wrote it on an index card, a three by five card. And here's what the minister said, he said, endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory. Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, to endure a hard thing, it's to turn it into glory, to embrace that process of what God's doing. And when Peggy told her mom, she said, here's what stood out to me though. After he read the phrase, the minister pounded the pulpit once, and then he turned around and he started crying, because he was having to endure something in his life. Guys, tears are not a sign that you don't have hope. A lot of hopeful people cry a lot, because the suffering is real, because they're enduring. Because God's forging them, but it's a painful process. But in that process, we have a hope of glory.

Tim Lundy: 27:15 And I love how he caps the whole thing, this whole process, our faith that grows. The last part, it's a hope that doesn't shame us. Why? Because the love of God is the umbrella over all of it. Because if God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us while we were still sinners, can't we trust him now in this process of life. And so, as we close, you know, every step in the process, there's a decision that you have to make. And maybe you're at one of those junctures today, and at the bottom of this, this faith in Christ, here's the decision. Do you have faith in Christ? Do you have a relationship with Christ? Because if you don't have this foundation, you'll never adjust. You have to take that faith step, and I challenge you and encourage you take it today.

Tim Lundy: 28:04 But if you are in Christ and you have that faith, maybe today you're facing suffering. Here's the choice that you have, your choice is are you going to resent it or rejoice? Do you spend every day resenting that God's brought this suffering in your life? Or do you rejoice, not because of it but you rejoice in it, because of God? And then out of that, maybe you're in a time of endurance. Here's your choice with the endurance? Are you living every day discouraged or determined? Are you allowing this ongoing pandemic to just discourage you every day, and you just choose to live that way? Or you look at it and you go, do you know what, I am determined that God's doing something in my life, I'm determined that God's using this? And then as you come to this place of character, here's the choice that Romans 12 tells us, that every day you're being shaped one way or another, is your character being conformed or transformed? Is it being shaped by the world, or transformed by God? Are you allowing everything on the outside to shape you, or are you allowing God inside you to transform you inside out?

Tim Lundy: 29:10 And then when you come to that final thing of hope, I'll ask you again, is your hope average or audacious? See, we want to have an audacious hope, that's what the Christian life is about. It's what God's called us to, it's what the world desperately needs to see right now, guys, they need a church that has audacious hope. They need people who are realistic, we may have tears with that hope, we may face hard times with that hope, but because we know what God's doing in that process, we are people of hope, and in this, you see it all. Paul tells us in First Corinthians 13, now abide this, faith, hope and love. Do you notice in that passage he says, the greatest is love. Why does he say that? Well, the reality is someday, we're not going to need faith and hope anymore. One day I won't need faith in Christ, it won't be faith, it will be sight, I'll get to see him. One day I'm not going to hope for glory, I'm going to be in his glory, I get to experience it. And on that day, you know what will abide forever, the love of God, and I know that is true, and I trust him in that. And I don't just wait for that day, I have an audacious hope today because of what God has said and what Christ has done. I pray that is true for you.

Tim Lundy: 30:47 Let's pray. God, we do thank you, we thank you for your word, we thank you for Christ. I thank you for a passage like this, that's just so clear. This is not the curriculum I would have chosen, but it's the one you designed. And so I pray, would I embrace it well, that at each of these junctures, I will trust you. Lord, that my faith would be in you. Lord, I pray that when I come to that place of suffering, I don't resent it, but I rejoice in it. When I come to endurance, I don't get discouraged in it, but more determined because I know what you're doing. Lord, when I see you changing my character, I want to be transformed, not conformed. Lord, I thank you that we can have hope, and I pray for audacious hope. I pray for everyone hearing this, that we would know this is true, that we would trust you in it, and that we would live it in a way that the world could see it today. In Christ' name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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