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The Building Blocks

26 May

Hope Is Here!  We can rejoice because we have hope.  You may be wondering why this really is so exciting.  As I think about all of the events that are going on constantly in our world, it is often difficult to see the hand of God.  It is sometimes tough to see the love of God.  It can certainly be beyond challenging to have hope.  When your faith is tested beyond what you could imagine, all your earthly possessions could vanish in a moment, and those that we depend so heavily on are gone, where do you go?  What do you do? Where is your hope?  When everything is on the line…where is your foundation?

Romans 5:1-5

You may remember as a kid using building blocks.  They come in different shapes and sizes.  It was important to choose the right building blocks in order to provide a steady masterpiece.  You wanted the most solid and sturdy at the bottom as your foundation because it had to be able to hold all the rest of the blocks as you built.  You didn’t want to build real high and then realize that you had big pieces left and to put them on would destroy the whole thing.  As I was studying this scripture, I thought about each of the things we will look at today as building blocks to you and me as followers of Jesus Christ.

As we look at this, Paul is wrapping up where he has been arguing for being justified by faith.  This is a transition point where we take into consideration that since we have been justified by faith…then we have peace with God…

Building Block 1: Peace with God…

Paul is showing us that if we have been justified by faith, then we have peace with God.  In order to even begin to grasp this, we have to understand that we are sinners…and God doesn’t look upon sin…and sin provides a ‘gap’ between us and God…one that we can’t break because we are sinners.  That puts us in a situation we can’t do anything about.  The Bible reminds us that there is no one righteous…no not one…

Except that we keep reading.  It says that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…wonder how that works?  As we continue to read, we see that it is grace that enables us to stand before a Holy God.  Grace…that free, undeserved, unearned gift that God gives through Jesus Christ.  So the key to the gap is that Jesus Christ gave up His life for you and me so that we could be cleansed…and come before God…and rejoice…and have hope…and have peace with God.

That is a HUGE, super important building block…and if we are without it…we will surely fall… And then Paul continues…

Building Block 2:  Tribulations/Suffering

We really have one of two ways to approach this building block.  Suffering/trials/tribulations can either tear us down, steal our joy, rip us apart OR they can produce something good.  We are going to undergo suffering…no doubt.  We are going to come up against things in this world.  We are going to struggle.  We are going to be beat down sometimes.  We live in this world and we are going to have troubles…Jesus told us that.  We don’t even have to know why we suffer…we just know that we do.  And, we can go around feeling sorry for ourselves for our suffering OR we can glory in that suffering and allow it to do a work in us.  In order to understand that, we need to look at what it does…

Building Block 3:  Perseverance

You can glory in tribulations/suffering because suffering helps you develop perseverance.  I like to think of perseverance as “Stick to it-ness”  That thing that people have that gives them the ability to just keep on keeping on even in the face of adversity.  That “never give up” attitude.  That part of us that will not allow this world to get us down because we are serving the Lord.  We get that perseverance by suffering.  We don’t learn to stick to it until we have things that come against us that try to get us to quit and give up.  And when we develop this ‘stick-to-it-ness’, we find that something else happens…

Building Block 4:  Character

When we have been through trials and suffering…and we have learned to keep on keeping on…our character is developed.  We learn that when God is all we have…God is really all we need.  We learn that this world and its goods are fleeting.  We learn that the things we hold so tightly here can be taken from us.  Through these lessons…when we persevere through it all…we are building character.  Character is one of those things that people don’t give to you.  Character is developed.  Character is developed through tough times and through suffering.  Character is who you are even when no one is looking.  When we suffer and learn to persevere…knowing that God is with us through it all…we gain a new perspective on what is important.  We develop who we are in Christ.  We develop character and that is something that we earn – yet people see in us.

Building Block 5:  Hope

Through all of this, we gain hope.  We being to lose our earthly perspective…we learn to stick to it through it all because of this amazing peace with God…we develop a character that can’t be bought…and we live in an amazing hope because no matter what – God is there.

To pull all of this together…Paul writes in verse 5…”Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”.  WOW!  Hope doesn’t disappoint because God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  That is amazing!  I can just imagine God pouring out His love on His people who have suffered…and stuck to it…and have built character…and have hope…ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS!  Now that is something to rejoice about!

 
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