Aug. 1, 2017

Joy and peace, abounding in hope and power

Romans 15:1-22 from the daily reading in the One year Bible

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,

“Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Your name.” 10 Again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord all you Gentiles, And let all the peoples praise Him.” 12 Again Isaiah says, “There shall come the root of Jesse, And He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, In Him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17 Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God. 18 For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, 19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; 21 but as it is written, “They who had no news of Him shall see, And they who have not heard shall understand.”


Today’s text says:  Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   As believers our hope is not as the world might hope. Our hope is more than a wish or a dream. First as the verse says, our hope is based and founded in the God of hope. Then our hope brings us joy and peace in believing. The world hopes for things they do not have, things they cannot see, things beyond belief. We believe and so we have faith for that which we hope for. Hebrews 11:1 says:  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.   We have assurance of our hope because of faith. It’s not faith in ourselves and our own abilities. It’s not faith through positive thinking. Rather it is faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, who Himself says:   “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.  “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.  (Mark 11:22-24)  Finally, our hope abounds in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Again our hope does not rest in our own abilities or in the power of other people, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. Genesis 1:1-3 saysIn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  The power of the Holy Spirit, which causes our hope to abound, is the same power that moved in creation, responding to the voice and the declaration of God, to bring light where there was darkness, and form to what was formless. It is no wonder then that our hope would abound. The power that created the mountains surely has the power to move them.

There is something else we must do in order for our hope and our faith to be translated to reality. Along with believing in God, along with our hope abounding in the power of the Holy Spirit, there is something we must do to activate that power in our lives and the lives of others. God is omnipotent, all powerful, and He is omniscient, all knowing. Yet, when He created in Genesis, God did not think the world into being. God spoke and it was. It is not enough that we believe in God and the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says: whoever says to this mountain…”   The power of the Holy Spirit is released through the declaration of the word of God. So it is not that we can have anything we wish for. Our hope is not like the hope of the world. It’s not about wishes or dreams. We can though have anything God wants.   In John 14:13-14 Jesus says:  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”   Again though it is not that we get whatever we ask for. It is that we get what we ask in Jesus name. 1 John 5:14-15 helps us to understand this better. It says:  This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.    To ask in Jesus name, it must be according to His will. In John 5:19-20 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”    We then are to have confidence as we declare and proclaim, not what we want, but anything that is the will of God. We have faith that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the will of God will be done. That’s how Jesus taught us to pray:  Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

How do we know the will of God that we might have faith to declare it?  Romans 10:17 says:  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.    In order to have faith knowing the will of God, we must hear the word of God. We hear God’s word and know His will by His written word and by the word of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 saysGod has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.    So the Holy Spirit will reveal the will of God to us. So we know God’s will by hearing His voice through the Holy Spirit, giving us confidence and faith to declare His will and release the power of the Holy Spirit to do the will of God.

What is the result for us? It’s not that we have everything we want. Rather it is that we are filled with, we haveall joy and peace in believing.  Hebrews 11:1;6 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.   We have peace and joy believing that God will reward us, giving us all that we need, all that He wants for us.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the peace and joy I have in You. Thank You for the faith that comes from hearing Your word and Your voice; knowing Your will. Thank You for the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through me, declaring Your word and will, that whatever I ask in Your name, according to Your will, believing, You will do it. It will be done. In and through my life may: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.