How Do Faith And Hope Relate?

Hope and Faith Are Always Intricately Tied Together.

Tim Lundy
Jul 26, 2020    34m
The realities we face in the world today can be scary and overwhelming, but when God becomes your reality you can find an eternal source of hope and faith to turn to even during the most challenging 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 Well, as we continue this series entitled, Audacious Hope, we're focusing on the kind of hope that you can only find in God's Word and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. And if you remember last week, I told you the importance of hope in a life cannot be overstated.

Tim Lundy: 00:20 And I was remembering the story of Ernest Gordon, who was a prisoner of war in World War II. Years later, he would go on to be the Dean of Chapel at Princeton University, but in World War II, he was a prisoner of the Japanese and he worked on the Thai Burma railroad. When Lee and I were living in Thailand, I had the opportunity to go to the river Kwai and see the remnants of the prison, and see the graveyard, and just hear firsthand the stories of what they went through, brutal captivity. And while he was there, Gordon was trying to lead his men as an officer, but he became gravely ill and he almost died. And one of the key problems is, he'd given up, he didn't see the meaning of it all. He wouldn't have lived if it wasn't for another man, the chaplain Dusty Miller, who took the meager rations he had, and he would share them with Gordon as he nursed him back to health. But more than just the physical health, Miller started investing in him and especially his spiritual health. You know, one day Dusty said these words to, he said, " A man can experience an incredible amount of pain and suffering if he has hope. But when he loses his hope, that's when he dies." And Gordon would not only grab those words, he would also believe in Miller's faith. And he put his faith in Christ, and it sustained him not only through that time, it sustained him in the years to come.

Tim Lundy: 01:55 Folks, we need to realize in this season, where a lot of people are struggling with hope, struggling with what's going on, you can make it through anything if you have hope. But not just any hope, not a utopoian hope, not a hope where we're just wishing, not an optimism, but a biblical hope. And remember last week I defined biblical hope for you, biblical hope is confident, active expectation based on the certainty of what God has said and Christ has done. So it's confidence, it's not a confidence in us, it's confidence in him. It's active, we don't go passive. There's an expectation I'm building my life on it, I'm leaning into it, and it's based on the certainty of what God has said, what he said in his Bible, what he said in the word, and what Christ has done through the gospel.

Tim Lundy: 02:50 Now, a lot of people struggle with this word right here, though, certainty. How can I have certainty? And what if I have doubt? What about, I'm not sure I even believe it? And how can I have a hope I'm struggling with those things? And that's one of the things that you're going to see in scripture, hope is rarely ever mentioned alone, it always has a partner in the Bible. If you look at it, faith and hope are complimentary partners in the Bible, you see these two going hand in hand together. And because they're so important, that's what I really want to focus this whole message, how do faith and hope work together? Because you have to have faith order to build hope, but you need hope to keep faith alive. There they're complimentary partners that you will see, and you see them together. In fact, in the famous chapter on faith, Hebrews chapter 11, we'll be looking at some of the verses in that. We'll also look at some other verses in scripture.

Tim Lundy: 03:52 But in Hebrews 11, it's called the chapter of faith. Some people call it the hall of fame of faith, that talks about different people of faith. But notice when the writer defines it right at the beginning, look how he partners at together in Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Faith has this assurance, that certainty, that belief in it, of something though, that is hoped for. And then he comes back and he says, it's the conviction. It's not just something that I kind of believe, it's something I'm actually convicted about, something I've built my life on, of things that are not seen. And so you put those two together in it, where faith and hope work together. Here's the point with it, faith is belief and trust in something or someone, hope is competent expectation based on faith. So faith is not just belief, a lot of people think faith is just a mental assent, if I believe in Jesus, or I believe in that mentally. It's also in scripture, it always combined trust, that I not only believe it, but I trust it. I not only give mental assent to it, I base my life on it, and I'm all in with it. So the belief and trust in something or someone, and then hope is that confident expectation that then is based on the faith.

Tim Lundy: 05:23 You can picture a child, maybe the parents come to a child and they say, tomorrow, we're going go to Disney world. Now that child gets excited. Why? Because child has faith in their parents, faith that what they say is true. And so based on that faith in them, the child is excited. But it's more than just the faith, there's also a hope, the excitement, they can't go to sleep at night. Why? Because they're looking forward to what's coming the next day. And the hope the child has, is built on the faith the child has in the parents and what they've said, and that they're trustworthy. See, in the same way, these work in our life as well.

Tim Lundy: 06:05 And here's what you need to realize, everybody operates with faith and hope. Now it may not be a biblical faith or hope, you may not be living every day that you're trusting God, but you're trusting something. You have faith in something. It may be a faith in humanity, and you hear that quite a bit that we will overcome as human beings, we're going to overcome anything in front of us. Maybe it's a faith in science, that science is going to deliver a better tomorrow. Maybe it's a faith in politics. It's hard to have faith right now, but maybe you have a faith that man, through our political system, we're going to change things. It can be a faith in yourself, that you don't really trust anybody else, but you have faith in you and you're living your life on that faith.

Tim Lundy: 06:53 And the reality is, the hopes that you have every day is based on that faith, and if it can't deliver, remember when we talked about last week, though, when hope gets deferred too long, the heart gets sick. People start losing hope, and their faith erodes in that. See, that's why it's so important in this, to build the kind of faith and hope that the Bible is talking about now. Now, when it talks about it, here's another thing that you need to know, and this is true of just the two categories. Faith and hope are both based on what we cannot see, both of them have an element about them that you cannot see. Look at a couple of scriptures in this, Second Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by face, not by sight." Paul is writing here and he says, there's an aspect of our daily life, our daily walk that we have to do by faith, not by what we can prove or what we can see right in front of us.

Tim Lundy: 07:50 In the same way with hope, Romans 8 said, "For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" And both of these concepts are true and there's a part of it, and that's what makes it hard for us, is there's a part that you can't prove through experience. There's a part that's not seen in that, because the moment it is, it's no longer faith and it's no longer hope. If I have a cup of coffee after I take a sip of that cup of coffee, I can't say, well, I have faith that this is good coffee. Now you would look at me and go, you just drank it. So what did your experience tell you? Is it good coffee or not? Now, the moment before I take that sip, when I'm holding that coffee, I might say, you know, I have faith that this is a good cup of coffee. And the reason I have faith, it's not a blind faith, it's a reasonable faith. I know where the coffee came from, it's a good brewer, it's a good blend. I know everything that went into it, and so it gives me great faith. But until I've actually sipped the coffee, I'm making a statement of faith because I haven't experienced it, I haven't seen it for myself. Once I've seen it, it's no longer faith, it's experience, it's sight. It's the same thing with hope. When you go with hope, I might walk outside. If I walked outside right now in the sunshine and I said, oh man, I hope the sun comes up today. You'd look at me and go, you're crazy, the sun's already up, it's there, you don't have to hope anymore. It's happened, you can see it. Now, if it was a cloudy day, I might walk outside and say, oh, I hope the sun will come out, I hope the clouds will clear away. See, that'll be an expression of hope because I don't know, I haven't seen it yet.

Tim Lundy: 09:38 See, in the same way, both faith and hope, they always have that element of what hasn't been experienced, what has it been seen. And so in the same way, we have to have faith that we serve a Savior who rose from the dead. And we believe that by faith, even though I didn't see it. Now, isn't it interesting though, his disciples, they didn't have to have faith that he rose from the dead, they got sight, they actually got to see it. So they wasn't an act of faith for them to believe, oh, Jesus rose from the dead. For them, it was an act of belief based on what they were seeing by sight. Now, the reason God did that, is he knew we were going to have to believe by faith, and he wanted us to have reasonable witnesses that we could trust. And so Jesus appeared to 500 people so that we would have 500 eye witnesses who could pass that down, who could tell us about it, who could verify it in human history. So that when we believe by faith and it's still an act of faith, I've not seen the risen savior, but I trust the evidence that he's given me, so it's a reasonable faith that I have, and on that I've built a reasonable hope with that.

Tim Lundy: 10:57 See, faith and hope always have this element that you don't see and you don't prove it. Now here's the reality, whether it's a biblical faith or just a standard faith, everybody operates this way. Everybody has things in life that you've not verified by sight, but you trust it by faith every day. You trust it, when you go to the doctor and he hands you prescription, and half the time you can't even read the prescription itself. I mean, think about it, by faith you're trusting this doctor. You go to a pharmacist, you trust they're going to give you the right medicine. You trust this is the right medicine to put in your body, despite the side effects, despite what's in it. I mean, here's a slip of paper that I can't read, even if I could read it, I don't understand the medicine half the time, and I give it to another person. And in that whole chain of events, I've got a lot of faith in the people involved, and I'm hoping this will make me better because we operate this way all the time, we operate this way about life all the time.

Tim Lundy: 11:56 In fact, the writer of Hebrews, as he keeps going, he brings the first big faith point that everyone has to decide. Look at it in Hebrews 11:3, "By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God. So that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." And so he's pointing out for every person that's ever walked on this planet, there's a big faith choice that you're going to have to make one way or another because we're confronted with this world, with this universe. And we live in a day where we know it's many galaxies, millions of billions of stars, the extent of it is unbelievable. And so when you come to this universe, you've got to make a decision, where did it come from? Where did all this that we see come from, if initially there was nothing? And regardless of your scientific theory, we could trace it back to there was a time of nothingness. So as you look that you go, how do we answer that question? Now, for those of us who have faith in scripture, we believe it was by creation. And we may debate at times, the time of the creation, we may debate the age of the universe. There's the different elements we debate, even as Christians with that, but the choice that we have made is by faith, we believe this something didn't just come out of nothing. And so by faith, we trust God and we put our faith in him.

Tim Lundy: 13:33 Now, maybe you look at that and you go, I don't believe in God. Well then what are you putting your faith in? How do you answer that question? Because whether you believe the full evolutionary biology, all the process with it, you still have to answer the question. How do we have something out or nothing? A few years ago, the physicist Lawrence Krauss, he wrote a book, A Universe From Nothing; Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, and he's trying to answer that question without God. And in it, he builds it off of probabilistic dictates of quantum field theory. That he says, even in an apparent perfect vacuum, it is seething with particles and antiparticles that pop in and out of existence. Another physicist, the Russian Andre Lind, he says, there's an infinite number of other universe that might have sprung from the primordial, what he calls quantum fluctuation. And Richard Dawkins, you know, the famous atheist, he can't stand Christianity. He grabbed [inaudible] book and he said, this proves it, even the theologian now can't question us. Where did the something come from nothing?

Tim Lundy: 14:44 It was interesting that the New York times book review, the philosopher, David Albert, and he's a specialist in quantum theory. Not a Christian per se, he's just writing as a philosopher. He looks at the book and he goes not so fast, guys, you still haven't answered the question. But listen, as he describes in the review, he says, for starters are the laws of quantum mechanics, themselves supposed to have come from somewhere, don't they have to come from something? Modern quantum field theories have nothing whatsoever to say on the subject of where those fields came from, or why the world should be consisted of particular kinds of fields. Why it should have consisted of fields at all. Why there should have been a world in the first place? Period, case closed, end of story. Guys, that's the New York times book review, basically saying you didn't really answer the question. Because it's the question that's going to hang out there no matter what your system, you have to answer it one way or another, where did all this come from?

Tim Lundy: 15:45 Now for Christians, for me, I believe it came from God. I'll be honest, I agree with Norm Geisler, he wrote the book. I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist. Because it takes faith to believe one system or the other, it takes faith. And whatever you've placed your faith in, here's the part that you need to grab and why it's so important, whatever you've built your faith on, that's what your hope in life is hinged on. They go hand in hand, you can't separate them. See, it impacts how we approach God. Look at verse 6 of Hebrews 11, "Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." It's an interesting thing, it takes faith to even believe God exists, and so for some reason that's a deal breaker. You just go, I can't believe God exists. But you know, there's a lot of people, and it's interesting to me, there's a lot of people, in fact, most people on the planet would say, God exists. A lot of them are agnostic or don't know if we can define him, and so they would have the faith to go that God exists.

Tim Lundy: 16:58 Do you know, where I think that breaks down for them? It's the second point of faith, that he actually rewards those who seek him. Here's what I mean and the point with it if you look at it, by faith, we believe in God, and that a relationship with him is for out good. That I actually believe if I seek God, God actually wants to reward you in that relationship. See, I think there are so many people who, when they think of God, God may exist, but they're scared of him, or they don't have enough faith to believe that God could ever love them. Or sometimes you're so aware of all the things you've done wrong, that when you think of God, and I'll have people say this to me, oh, I couldn't go to church. Oh, if you knew the things I've done. Oh, lightning would strike me. Oh, I'm such a bad person. See, immediately, here's what they're saying, I've got enough faith to believe in God, I just don't have enough faith to believe that he actually has my good in mind, that he actually wants to reward people that seek him, that he actually created a way that not only can I seek him, I can know him, I can have relationship with him because he loves me so much that he sent his son to die on a cross for me. That those who seek him can be saved in him. See that's what it means by faith, we believe in God and that a relationship with him is for our good.

Tim Lundy: 18:32 And here's what that leads to, then in hope we draw closer to him in relationship. See if I don't have that faith, I'll never have hope in him. If I don't have faith that he not only exists, but it's for my good and he loves me. If I don't have faith in that, why would I ever have the hope of drawing closer to him? No wonder so many people pull back, no wonder so many people are scared of him, and have this image of him that he's just waiting to judge you. See it takes faith, it takes a faith, but it's a reasonable faith. It's faith based on what he said, and it's faith based on what Christ has done. Because Christ died on a cross, because Christ rose from the dead, I have hope in that relationship with him. And as I do that, here's what it does, it connects my past in the future. See, faith is grounded in the reality of the past, hope is looking to the reality of the future. Faith is grounded to the reality of what God accomplished, the reality of what he said, the reality of what Christ did in human history, the reality of what happened on the cross, the reality that he rose from the dead. That's the reality, my faith is grounded in that reality, so that I have hope for the reality of the future. Not a pie in the sky future, not a future I'm wishing for and I'm dreaming up, the reality of what he has said my future's going to be. And I can have hope in that future because I have faith in the past because of what I've seen, what he's done in the past, what I know to be true in what he said. Just like that child that's hoping for Disney World think, because I trust him, it gets me excited, and I hope for the future no matter what I'm going through. You know, you see examples of this in scripture.

Tim Lundy: 20:34 And here's what I love about the Bible, it doesn't just teach these principles, we then have the stories of real people in it. And one of the people I think of Abraham, who's considered the father of faith. In fact, you read all throughout scripture when it talks about faith, that points back to Abraham. That this man who by faith, he left his home, this man who trusted God and went out and left all that he had had in order to trust God. This man who had these radical promises, God looked at him and said, I'm going to make you the father of many nations, many people. And as he looks at that, he believed the promise, even though he doesn't have a child, even though his wife is barren. And he continued to believe over the years, he struggled at times, but you pick up the story about 25 years later, he still believes in the promise. Let's look how Romans 4 puts it, "In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old). I mean, he's almost a hundred, "And he considered the bareness of Sarah's womb." His wife's never had a baby. I mean, they'd been married for decades, he's an old man now. I mean, they're at the point in their relationship, they're are past the Bow Chicka Wow Wow part of the relationship. I mean, they're older couple, he's facing the reality of that, but he doesn't give up faith. He doesn't give up hope against hope, "No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised."

Tim Lundy: 22:21 See, God had made a promise to him, and he may have struggled with it at times. I'd encourage you, as you read through Abraham's story, it's not this charted story where he just goes and every step of faith was glorious. He made a lot of mistakes along the way, but he never gave up on God, he never wavered in the trust of God's promise. And because of that, he could face the reality of what he's going through. See that's what you need to realize the point for the Christian, both faith and hope, embrace reality, but both include God in that reality. That our faith and hope are not this escape from reality, we don't have this blind faith where we just jump off and we believe something because we want to believe it. We have a grounded faith based on what God said and did in human history, and if you've never investigated that I'd encourage you to investigate it for yourself. We don't have this utopian hope, that this pie in the sky hope that we're hoping for, like Abraham, we have to face the reality of what's going on in our life. But here was the game changer for him, despite his age, despite the bareness, despite what they'd been through, when he put God into the equation, it changed everything.

Tim Lundy: 23:42 See, when you bring God into your reality, when you bring God into your faith, when God is the foundation of your hope, then it's not based on the local news every day, guys, then it's not based on what happening in the polls, or what's happening on Wall Street, or what's happening in any other thing that you might look to. It changes that reality because it's an eternal reality, doesn't mean I deny what's going on in the real world here, is just that I bring the actual real world into it as well, it brings faith and hope. And when you do that, it doesn't matter what you go through.

Tim Lundy: 24:23 You know, Abraham's one example. I'll tell you for me the most striking example of this, is Job. You remember Job? Here's a guy on top of the world, he has everything. And Satan looks at him and says to God, the only reason he follows you, is you bless him, you give him everything he wants. You let me at him, you let me strip away some, and you see what happens to Job, he'll curse you, so God lets him. You talk about your life just changing in a moment’s notice. When literally over the course of days, Job's children are killed his, his profits, all of his wealth is gone, he loses his own health, his wife turns better. His friends, they keep showing up. In fact, for most of the book, it's them talking. Which is a good thing they want to show up for Job, it's a bad thing they talk too much and they give lousy counsel over and over again because they keep blaming Job. They said, Job, you must have done something wrong, that's why bad things happen to you. And you watch Job through this whole process, he doesn't know what's going on, he doesn't understand.

Tim Lundy: 25:35 If you want to talk about a powerful verse though, in the midst of all this upheaval, in the midst of all this crisis, and all that he's gone through, in the midst of his own health failing in it. Look what he says, he says "Though..." And he's talking about God here, "Though he slay me." Even if he kills me, look at this next phrase, "I will hope in him." My hope is in him. Now I love this next line though, because this is so honest here, "Yet I will argue my ways to his face." He says, I have not lost my hope in God, but man, I really don't like what he's doing right now and I'm actually going to argue with him about it. In fact, that's one of the most powerful things in the book, that God gives him an audience. It doesn't give Job all the answers Job wanted, but he gives him an audience. He gives him a place to be able to go and argue it before God. And what I love about Job is, he hasn't given up his hope, because his hope wasn't based on all the things he lost, his hope was based on God. And he says, no matter what God does, I'm going to trust him, I'm going to look to him, I'm going to listen to him.

Tim Lundy: 27:00 Guy's life can change quickly, we've even experienced that. Sometimes we don't know what God's doing, we don't know what's going on in it. It can feel like you're caught in a fog, I feel like this pandemic is a fog. You know, Phillip Yancey talked about a friend of his who went swimming in this large lake. He was about a hundred yards off shore, and it was right at Twilight, and this fog immediately came in and settled over the lake. It was so dense and so thick. and it came in so quickly, he suddenly looked up swimming and he was disoriented. He didn't know which way the sun was going down, he didn't know which way the shore was. And he spent about 30 minutes, he'd swim a little bit and then conserve energy and then try to turn one direction, turn the other. And he started to panic, until in the fog, finally, he heard some voices on the shore. They were calling through the fog, come this way. And he listened to those voices, any trusted them, and swam in.

Tim Lundy: 28:05 You know that as I thought about that picture, and I think about guys like Job and Abraham, who go through seasons, sometimes go through years, go through decades, where it feels like fog. God, you promised me a son, but I haven't seen a child for 25 years. God, I thought I was being faithful to you, and I see my life crumble overnight. And I don't see where to go, I'm struggling in this. See, that's where faith, faith that the voice of God, of what he said is true and I could trust it and follow it. For hope, hope that he is a God that when I seek him, he's not trying to punish me. Hope and faith that he's a God who loves us, and wants to reward use. And even in the hard season in life, he's doing his good work in us, and we can trust that.

Tim Lundy: 29:13 See, in the season like this, we're dealing with the brokenness of life, and the brokenness of this world, and they can impact your faith and they can steal your hope. I mean, when you think of the brokenness of life, the brokenness of disease in a pandemic, the brokenness of our economy. Some of you, it's the brokenness of relationship. Maybe it's the brokenness of your own sinfulness, and what you're dealing with. You live in that long enough, and if you focus on it long enough, it has impact. Here's what I found, you see it in Job and Abraham, you see it in life, the brokenness of life will either lead to a broken faith or an unbreakable faith. Both Abraham and Job, in the brokenness of life, it didn't lead to a broken faith. They didn't walk away from God, they didn't give up on him. If anything it got stronger, it led to an unbreakable faith. But what's the difference? What's the difference, the difference maker is hope. So you remember our hope is built on our faith, but it's our faith that ultimately gives that strength to the hope, and it's hope that makes that faith live longer. You've got to have both, no matter what you're going through. And the reason you know, and I'll go back to the story with the fog. You know, the one thing I love about our God, he didn't just speak through the fog, he came through the fog. He didn't just speak to us from afar, Jesus came to us as savior. And when he came to this planet, even before he left, he said, my spirit is coming. Here's your guarantee, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you, so that no matter what fog you're going through, no matter what broken issue you're dealing with, you know, he's near.

Tim Lundy: 31:14 Now I'll close with the story that Sinclair Ferguson tells in his book Deserted by God. And he asked the question, are we deserted by God? He talks about a young doctor. It was the first person to ever die of AIDS in England. And he was a young doctor who contracted the disease as he was doing research down in Zimbabwe, trying to discover it and understand it in those early days before we had much medicine for it. And he caught AIDS through his study and his medical work and research, and they brought him back to England and it ravaged his body. In fact, in his final days, he couldn't speak anymore, and he would try to communicate with his wife. And one day he kept trying to say something to her, and finally he took a pad and all he could do was write the letter J on the pad. And she looked at it and she started looking at the medicines to see which one started with the J, and then she looked at the medical journals. And what, is there a word, is there a condition, is there something with the J that he's trying to alert me to? And he kept shaking his head? No, no, no, and then finally she stopped, she realized what he was saying. She looked at him and she said, Jesus. And he smiled. She said, he's here? And he smiled again. That in the hardest day, in the worst time, he knew he wanted her to know we've not been forsaken, we've not been forgotten, Jesus is here.

Tim Lundy: 32:55 I hope that's true for you. I hope you have the anchor of hope that only comes through Christ. I hope you have the kind of faith that is unbreakable, because it's built on the truth of what God has said, and what Christ has done for you. The faith that you can believe he exists, but not only did he exist, he wants to reward you. He wants you to seek him. If you've never done that before, I would encourage you today, go to him in prayer, ask him to be your savior, trust him as your Lord. Put your faith in him, and look at the hope that will come in your life as a result.

Tim Lundy: 33:44 Let's pray. Father, I do thank you, I thank you for your word, I thank you that our faith is a true faith, it's not a blind faith, it's a faith based on what you've done in history, it's a faith based on what Christ did when he came. Lord, I pray that we would be people of faith during this time. Lord, I pray based on that faith, we would have audacious hope, we would have that kind of confident expectation based on what you've done. So I pray for anybody listening to this, if they don't know you, if they've not experienced that, that today, they would reach out to Jesus as savior and Lord, knowing that you long to forgive them and to reward them with all eternity. And we pray these things in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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